review by Bobby Blakey
While a lot of people are just discovering Mark Dacascos from his bad ass role in John Wick 3, I have been a huge fan all the way back to his early films including American Samurai and Only the Strong. Now he is taking on the undead in his latest film The Driver with his real life wife, Julie Condra and daughter, Noelani Dacascos and Ballistic: Eks vs Sever director Wych Kaosayananda at the helm.
The Driver follows a former hit man, his wife, and daughter, Bree who live quietly in a survivalist compound after a plague of the undead decimates human life on earth. But when their base is attacked, a massive explosion summons a swarm of the undead. They escape and must seek out the Haven – a rumored sanctuary up north – while the father teaches his daughter to shoot, drive, and survive before time runs out.
I am a massive fan of Dacascos following him all the way back to his first starring role in American Samurai so I am all in for every film he does. I didn’t know anything about this one going in other than it was Dacascos versus zombies so was sold. The film wastes no time in getting right to the action as it sets up for the different aspect of the film I wasn’t expecting. There is plenty of action after the big opening and sprinkled throughout, but the majority of the film is more of a road trip family drama featuring Dacascos and his real life daughter.
Initially I was a bit disappointed as I have my perceptions of what I was going to get from the film and this unexpected direction let me down at first. Of course I wanted the action I’ve come to love from his film, but finding out that this is only one part of a trilogy of stories it works way better. Putting aside my want for action and letting the actuality of what they are doing it works fine. Their ongoing journey is actually heart felt and relatable as they bond over the dire situations they are dealing with and plans for the future. Having a real life father and daughter playing off of each other obviously showcases a closer connection than a normal performance of two actors. This turned out to be a great aspect to the film that I did not expect especially in this kind of universe.
Fans of Dacascos be warned that the hardcore martial arts action is not hear, but instead a family drama wrapped in a zombie action film that works. It is a lower budget production but clearly used what they were working with to a great extent to make a simple film relatable and different. This film won’t work for everyone, but does any film really? Martial arts fans will be excited to see a surprise cameo at the end that teases the future possibility of this series. Where does this film fall in the bigger story and is there more Dacascos to be seen? Only time will tell but this one stand fine on its own should it be the end.
In addition tot he film this release offers up bonus content including trailer, gallery and behind the scenes featurette. Join the drive for survival with The Driver available now on DVD from Lionsgate Home Entertainment.