This month’s film screening at the Japanese embassy is Adrenaline Drive which is a late ‘90s comedy action flick directed by Shinobu Yaguchi. Shinobu Yaguchi has made family friendly films as well as experimental ones. Waterboys (2001), Happy Flight (2008), Swing Girls (2007) and, most recently, Wood Job! (2014) are what I would see as broad comedies designed to appeal to wide audiences but as good as these are (and they are good) it’s his early experimental film The Rain Women which has me most intrigued after I wrote about it screening at the Berlin International Film Festival this year.
Anyway, this is a parody of action and romance movies and it contains slapstick comedy. It is held together by likeable performances from lead actors Masanobu Ando and Hikari Ishida.
Masanobu Ando should be familiar to J-film fans from his incredible performance as Shinji in Kids Return (1996) and Kiriyama in Battle Royale (2000). He has appeared in many other cult films and worked with a variety of directors and has proven himself to be a great leading man, so it is a shame he isn’t used more… Hikari Ishida is another underused actor although I must admit that the only other film I have seen her in is Séance (2000)…
Here are the details:
アドレナリン・ドライブ 「Adorenarin Doraibu」
Release Date: June 12th, 1999
Running Time: 112 mins.
Director: Shinobu Yaguchi
Writer: Shinobu Yaguchi (Screenplay),
Starring: Masanobu Ando, Hikari Ishida, Reila Aphrodite, Yutaka Matsushige, Taro Suwa, Kirina Mano, Kanta Ogata, Mikita Ogata,
Synopsis: After an unfortunate accident with a gangster in a black Jaguar, Satoru is taken to the yakuza’s lair. The thug adopts a threatening pose, ready to exact extortionate retribution. At that very moment, a violent explosion rips through the den, killing off almost the entire gang. Shizuko, a plain, timid nurse, happens to be outside the building demolished by the explosion and discovers Satoru, dazed and slightly wounded. She helps him into an ambulance. They are joined by the only other survivor, the Jaguar driver, who lies unconscious on a stretcher. All hell breaks loose. Amid the chaos, Satoru and Shizuko, acting in collusion, steal a trunk full of bloody cash and go on the run. To make matters worse, they soon find they have the Jaguar man and a gang of hooligans in hot pursuit. A fierce three-way scramble for 200 million yen now begins.
The film will be screened on Wednesday, April 27th at 18:30. Admission to the films is free but you need to register for a ticket. For more information, head to the embassy’s site.