Rumblin’ Across America
“The energy though comes from the fights, overcoming the lower budget by injecting a dazzling, kinetic enthusiasm for iconic kung-fu cinema. Credit to experienced choreographer Koichi Sakamoto who designs wild, innovative brawls, and while slightly over-edited to appease western producers, allows Dacascos to display his skills. There’s a visible equivalence to Jet Li’s output during this period, and certainly Rush Hour in terms of blending east/west genre films.”
Well, this presentation is wonderful. Dripping with fidelity, texture, and sharpness, Drive shows exemplary definition all around. Exteriors and wide shots reveal nuance everywhere. Close-ups push facial detail for days. Flawlessly resolved grain keeps Drive’s filmic texture alive, never betraying the source. A few remaining specks of dust and noticeable vertical banding on bright skylines aside, this is spotless.
Dolby Vision doesn’t understand subtle. Light sources bloom wonderfully, giving the image pizazz. Sparks from missing gunshots look more vibrant than real world fireworks. Intense shadows barely fall into crush, and only as intended by the cinematography. Rich blacks keep Drive wholly dynamic, and well beyond the lower budget origins ever expected to be.
Although slightly pushed toward magenta, the saturated color grading doesn’t limit primaries. This disc glows, accurate flesh tones included. Kadeen Hardison’s red car is absurdly vivid, and that’s only one example.
Debuting a new Atmos mix, it’s an uneven, quiet track that needs better range. The score produces excellent low-end, yet the action’s flat, empty, and hollow sound doesn’t amplify anything. Kicks and gunshots go nearly untouched by the LFE, and if active, create a murky, puffy sound rather than tight rumble. Bumping the volume to pick up on dialog means exaggerating the bass that is featured. There’s no winning here.
Inconsistent positional work moves dialog around, yet sounds artificial, even empty. Gun play doesn’t utilize the rears, strictly stereo at best.
MVD includes the extended cut in 4K, and the original in HD only. All of the extras mirror the previous Blu-ray. Nine minutes of deleted scenes open things, and a hefty 47-minute documentary follows. While apparently from the early DVD era, it’s not without moments worth watching. Paired off from that are an additional 24-minutes of interviews. For more, a commentary brings together Dacascos, Hardison, Sakamoto, and director Steve Wang.
Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.
Drive is an energetic, funny, absurd action lark and one of the best of its kind from the 1990s.
User Review( vote)
The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 40 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD: