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Pet Sins September 2001

Drive

This 1997 action film stars Kadeem Hardison and Mark Dacascos as a black-Asian duo unwillingly thrown together on a fateful journey. Steve Wang directs. Mark Dacascos plays Toby Wong, a Chinese operative on the run from his former employer, the Leung Corporation. Leung Corporation had implanted a "Turbo Drive" device in Toby's chest. This device enhances Toby's already sharp martial arts skills with superhuman strength. Toby, however, wants the device out of his body, and takes off for the U.S., where a company has promised to buy the device.

European American assassin Vic Madison pursues Toby to California, where a bar fight erupts between the Leung corporation henchman and Toby. Vic then seizes innocent bystander Malik Brody (Kadeem Hardison) as a hostage to force Toby to surrender. This plot element is significant because it hints at Vic what sees as Toby's weakness - his concern for the lives of his fellow men, even strangers. It is this aspect of Toby's character that makes him much more interesting than a typical 2-dimensional B-grade action flick character.

Toby is then forced to kidnap Malik, whom he orders at gunpoint to drive him to safety. Malik complains, "This is typical, too typical!!! Fresh off the boat and you kidnap the first brother you see to be your chauffeur. You don't look like Miss Daisy, I shouldn't be driving you no where!" More than once, Steve Wang employs race as a subtext to the action, often to comic effect, but without trivializing the issue. Both Mark Dacascos and Kadeem Hardison shine in their roles, despite the B-grade action/adventure setting. Kadeem Hardison wins over the audience easily with his natural charm and fluid acting. Mark Dacascos glows as the open-hearted Toby; it is hard to say if the innovative action scenes or the nuanced development of the bond between him and Malik is the best part of the film.

Drive is released by A-Pix home video.