If you thought that there can just be one Race franchise that satisfies the guilty pleasures of many, you would probably want to think again with Drive. Netflix's latest Indian film is giving you all the possible theatrical moments one expects from such a film without actually going to a theater. Starring Jacqueline Fernandez, Sushant Singh Rajput, Boman Irani, Pankaj Tripathi, Sapna Pabbi, Vibha Chibber and Vikramjeet Virk in important roles, I review the Dharma Productions mega film, Drive.
It is rather ironic how such films don't quite sport a plot if you dive into the intricacies of logic and reasoning but at the same time, is surrounded by one betrayal after the other. Drive is about a street racing crew in Delhi who is obviously living on the edge and planning major robberies, with the biggest one of them being in the Rashtrapati Bhavan. So, apart from a couple of filler robberies here and there, the build-up is towards the one in the Bhavan, where the corrupt head of Monetary Restrictions Authority has stacked up a lot of money (a LOT).
You cannot question the logic of anything going on around here. Why? Because you are not meant to. The thing about films like this or a Race series is basically being totally aware of what you're signing up for. Yes, I know, Race 3 is an obvious exception where bad is just bad and not so-bad-that-it's-so-good. However, with Drive, the case is reaffirmed that a bad film (when it comes to craft, acting, and sensibilities) can indeed be immensely entertaining. If you are going to constantly question every detailing in the robberies, or just how are street racers breaking rules rather easily in a populated city like Delhi, you'll be damned.
Once Drive gets over its' Fast & Furious wannabe-mode in the first few minutes, it goes on to become the quintessential 'no-brainer' you want to be entertained by. There are constant moments of shock and betrayal which you would anticipate just like Abbas-Mustaan's template but you still want to buy into all those idiosyncracies nevertheless. Many would mention how Race was about good-looking rich people doing bad things but still looking stellar as always. Drive, almost belongs to that category where you cannot deny but be awed by how impeccably gorgeous and well-groomed Fernandez among others look in every scene, even when she is racing her heart out during a chase.
Continuing from the above, Fernandez may just have given her career-best performance in this film only considering the fact that the role was probably fine with her stoic dialogue delivery and hints of amazing screen presence. She is the only character in the film which has a full arc and given how none of this quite requires any acting craft per se, she is terrific. Rajput, who is probably the better actor otherwise is as miscast in this film as anyone else can be. Apart from exuding his natural charisma in a couple of instances, it is the character that offers nothing for the actor to perform.
Oh, and yes, actors like Boman Irani and Pankaj Tripathi are also there in this film. Yes, they are there and there isn't much I can say apart from how wasted everything about that seems. Tripathi is reduced to being a single-layered Bhavan officer of sorts and while Irani has a couple of layers to play, he ends up over-doing every possible scene throughout.
In the end, Drive is your answer to what Race 3 should have actually been or what if a Fast & Furious-esque adaptation takes place in India. It's a vice that will keep questioning your surrender to intelligence but then we want to do that at times and are certainly not guilty about it.
Also, for the hardcore Dharma fans out there, if you were thinking how will a Dharma film be complete without a wedding song - there is one, here too! Go nuts!
Rating - ** 1/2 (2.5/5)