24 Things We Learned from the Commentary for Steve Wang’s ‘Drive’


By  · Published on April twenty fourth, 2024

Welcome to Commentary Commentary, the place we sit and take heed to filmmakers discuss their work, then share essentially the most attention-grabbing elements. In this version, Rob Hunter revisits among the best motion motion pictures of the Nineteen Nineties, Steve Wang’s Drive.

Read any record celebrating one of the best American motion motion pictures of the Nineteen Nineties, and the standard suspects will all be there, from Terminator 2 (1991) to The Matrix (1999). You’ll realize it’s a terrific record, although, if it has the knowledge to incorporate Steve Wang‘s last feature as director — a crime in its own right that he hasn’t been given one other one since — motion/comedy Drive (1997). Fantastic and frequent combat scenes headlined by Mark Dacascos, enjoyable stunts and explosions, and many authentic laughs courtesy of Kadeem Hardison and Brittany Murphy. This film rocks and exhibits what’s doable on a tiny price range.

Released straight to DVD after premiering on HBO, Drive has gone on to earn a well-earned cult following. It’s had numerous residence video releases over time too culminating in a slick 4K UHD from 88 Films again in 2022. Wang and his two leads recorded a commentary observe for an early DVD launch, so in fact I gave it a hear. Now hold studying to see what I heard on the commentary for…

Drive (1997)

Commentators: Steve Wang (director), Koichi Sakamoto (combat coordinator), Mark Dacascos (actor), Kadeem Hardison (actor)

1. Fans of the movie from seeing it on American cable may surprise why the opening music is totally different. The reply is as a result of producers shortened the movie for its U.S. launch and made some music selections too. This prolonged minimize options David Williams‘ authentic rating.

2. “You’ll see a lot of Japanese guys pretending to be mafia,” says Wang over the opening credit. All of those guys are performed by members of Sakamoto’s Alpha Stunts staff. Sakamoto shares that they’re all Japanese and grew up watching and loving Hong Kong motion motion pictures. As of this recording from (I consider) the early 2000s, the Alpha Stunts staff was dealing with stunt work on the Power Rangers tv exhibits.

3. This director’s minimize options the precise character motivation for Toby Wong (Dacascos) — his girlfriend — which was minimize utterly from “the HBO cut.” Producers/distributors felt that wasn’t wanted data.

4. The opening combat scene aboard the ship was really filmed a full month after the movie had wrapped. It was a problem for Dacascos as he had spent that point in Hawaii “eating like a pig.”

5. One of the 2 cops who enter the bar is performed by David Hayter who would go on to put in writing X-Men (2000), The Scorpion King (2002), Watchmen (2009), and extra.

6. The automotive sideswipe at 12:07 really crushed the precise entrance wheel, knocking it off the axle, and left the automotive primarily lifeless. This was dangerous information for a low price range movie as they wanted to shoot extra scenes with it the next day. Luckily, a bystander watching the filming was a mechanic and approached them after the stunt to supply his help. He got here via, and the automotive was prepared the following day.

7. Wang made up the exhibits that the dangerous guys are watching within the RV, and whereas Hardison didn’t perceive what was humorous about “Walter the Einstein Frog” again then, he pretends to find it irresistible now. It was initially meant to be an ape, however Overseas Film Group has a coverage that no animals are allowed on their units in an effort to remove the potential of abuse. “I couldn’t even bring my dog on set” says Wang, and he provides that he’s seen human extras handled far worse on units than he’s ever seen accomplished to animals. “It was outrageous.”

8. Dacascos’ character tells a cop his title is Sammo Hung, and he went on to do an episode of Hung’s Martial Law present two years later. The Hong Kong legend advised Dacascos that he and his spouse had loved the film and that “you told them you were me!”

9. The quarry combat required a ton of rehearsal, and its authentic conception noticed it lasting twice as lengthy. Wang’s rewrites on Scott Phillips’ script described this combat that includes the 2 leads handcuffed collectively as accomplished within the model of a 50s sock-hop. Producers cherished the concept, however when it got here time to movie they ended up solely capturing half of what they’d rehearsed.

10. The automotive dialog after the quarry was filmed twice, with one model aiming for a PG-13 ranking.

11. Wang makes a cameo in the course of the opening ship combat, and his spouse and younger son do the identical at 38:26.

12. Mr. Lau’s (James Shigeta) workplace on the Leung Corporation was a set constructed for the movie, and after manufacturing wrapped they offered it to Babylon 5 (1993-1998). It pissed Wang off as a result of it appeared on that present earlier than Drive really acquired launched.

13. The shot at 42:33 of the Advanced Model (Masaya Katô) rolling the coin throughout his fingers is definitely of a magician beneath body reaching up in to the shot for the trick.

14. They struggled arising with a title for the movie. Turbo Drive was one early suggestion, however Wang’s response was “oh yeah, straight to video.”

15. Brittany Murphy couldn’t be there for the commentary recording, and Hardison says that she’s there “in spirit.” Reads totally different now.

16. Murphy nearly missed her audition as a result of she was sick and had low power, “but low energy for Brittany was like me on fifteen cups of coffee.” Wang knew her from Clueless (1995) and didn’t suppose she seemed the half, however when she confirmed up she seemed completely totally different and blew all of them away together with her line reads and charisma. “I thought she’s cute but she’s not gonna be sexy, which is what I was looking for, I thought ‘no way is anybody gonna think she’s sexy.’ Boy, was I ever so wrong.”

17. Hardison advised Murphy to name him “chocolate boy wonder,” and whereas Wang was fearful how it could play, it ended up being a really humorous beat that had some viewers gasping. That’s the response “from the sisters” that Hardison was after as he’s at all times considered himself as chocolate boy surprise and was thrilled to have a white woman name him that on display screen. Wang says that it got here from Batman, however Hardison corrects him that it really “came from Pete Rock and CL Smooth.

18. The motel assault sees the bad guys all dressed in black with ski masks, and that was in part meant as an homage to Luc Besson’s The Professional (1994). The second reason, though, was more practical as the characters are white guys but for action purposes they’re played in this scene by the Alpha Stunts team. Related, a second nod to The Professional comes towards the end when Mr. Lau is asked which implants to boost and replies “Every one!”

19. Hardison factors out the stunt man doubling him at 1:35:19 — identifiable as a stunt man as a result of his shirt rides up, and it’s clearly not a Black man beneath.

20. The finish combat between Malik (Hardison) and Madison (John Pyper-Ferguson) grew to become greater than initially supposed as a result of they realized that there had been some racial stress between the characters constructing as much as that time. Wang and Sakamoto then determined to have Madison pull out a whip throughout their brawl, and it fell to Hardison to level out the deep and painful imagery at play there as they themselves simply didn’t see it initially. That in flip led to him improvising the dialogue as he beats Madison’s ass. “Luckily, when it was all edited together, it wasn’t anywhere near as dark as it felt on set,” says Wang, including that “it was certainly not my intention to go there.” Hardison understands and agrees however says “now if I was working with George Lucas, and he pulls some shit like that…” We then get a Jar Jar Binks impression as somebody (I feel Wang) says “Meesa gonna whip you!”

21. The movie was initially going to see the combat on the Apollo 14 restaurant embrace numerous wire work and lengthen up atop the rocket itself, however price range limitations noticed that scrapped.

22. Asked what their concepts for a sequel could be, numerous concepts are floated from feminine murderer fashions to the fellows heading to Hong Kong. To that latter level, certainly one of them says the concept was already arrange in Rush Hour (1998), a movie none of them recommend ripped off Drive.

23. Wang needed to take a day job after filming wrapped in an effort to hold engaged on the film’s post-production.

24. In a primary for Commentary Commentary, somewhat than simply cease abruptly or in silence, the commentary observe retains going even after the movie’s credit finish. They hold speaking for a further minute with only a black display screen.

Best in Context-Free Commentary

“These are the kind of scenes that you always get in fights with distributors about whether or not they stay in, because all they want to do is cut to the fight.”

“I’m Fred, you’re Ginger.”

“I love doing things that are quirky.”

“I’m Gary Oldman.”

“Mark can’t find the rhythm.”

“I got to cut his arm off, I couldn’t believe I was getting to do all this, I dreamed about this as a kid.”

“That’s ebony and ivory, that’s the way the world should be.”

“Here’s my John Woo ripoff.”

Final Thoughts on the Drive Commentary

When individuals ask me for my favourite commentary tracks the reply is normally easy — any observe with John Carpenter and Kurt Russell. They’re nice, informative tracks, however the important thing to their enjoyment as commentaries is the pure, unfiltered enjoyment that Carpenter and Russell clearly share after they’re collectively. Their laughter and sense of enjoyable are infectious, and whereas this Drive observe doesn’t fairly attain these highs, that very same feeling is abundantly current. These guys love one another’s firm, they usually’re extraordinarily humorous of their observations on the movie and banter forwards and backwards. Does action-master Sakamoto fart at one level? Yes, he does, however the laughs hold rolling. Great observe for a terrific film, and extremely really helpful.

Read extra Commentary Commentary from the archives.

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Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since earlier than you had been born, which is bizarre seeing as he is so rattling younger. He’s our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists ‘Broadcast News’ as his favourite movie of all time. Feel free to say hello if you happen to see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.