What I'm Watching: Blood Drive
Blood Drive is the latest series from Syfy (sic) Channel, and it is...something.
The plot is simple, but a definitely doozy of an idea. In an alternate 1999, gas and water are highly expensive, causing a shift in how this world works. The police force has been privatized, and there is a secret, underground race for money and secret fame amongst the people who know about the Blood Drive. The catch is, all the cars in the race run on...HUMAN BLOOD.
The show is a little bit Death Race, and a little bit Wyrmwood (A New Zealander movie I saw a bit ago, but don't think I ever got around to about a similar idea with cars running on zombies...) and if you're thinking, "Gosh, that sounds awfully grindhousey," then you would be correct.
I didn't watch many trailers for this, and knew they were highlighting that grindhouse feel with the promotional material, but I had no idea how much they'd be leaning into it for the series. And quite frankly, that is absolutely the right thing to do with this idea. Let's face it, a race to the death in cars powered by human blood is...absurd. And going full on grindhouse with your idea gives you free reign to be as absurd as you'd like.
This can be overdone, but Blood Drive races right up to that line, and rides right along it for most of the first episode. It does just enough to let you know its roots, and to let you know it's okay to enjoy the absurdity, without quite overdoing it. But it does come close. Some people will find it overdoes it, I'm sure. They never go so far as to force in scratches and grain into the shots, there's no 'missing reel' gag, thankfully (Yet!), but it is clearly a Grindhouse world for this show. It's gritty, it's bloody, it's over the top, the cars are straight out of superhero comics in some ways, the fashion is garbage future chic, and it's great.
The main focus of the show is on a particular racer, Grace, who is in it for the money, to secure a better life for her and her sister. There's a cop sniffing around who discovers the race as its about to begin, and he gets drafted into being her partner...or else they'll explode his head.
Now, you've got someone who has a car that needs blood to go, and a cop who is one of the few good cops left. Who is none too happy about the idea of wanton murder for blood. Instant conflict, and I'm sure it will play out over the course of the show.
The biggest problem so far, is the cars themselves. They each have an engine under the hood specially made to devour and grind up people for the tanks. But, this being grindhouse, they want to splatter blood all over the place. Fuel is precious. Blood is used. Blood flies EVERYWHERE. Do you see the problem here? They get maybe an ounce of blood in the tanks, but sprayed all over themselves, the hood of the car, the desert around them... It's terribly inefficient! But at the same time, it's bloody, gory fun.
Do you like Grindhouse movies? Do you like cars? Racing movies? Are you able to accept that this is gonna be a bit absurd, but terribly fun? Then you should definitely check out Blood Drive. I didn't know what to expect when I started watching it, or just how Grindhouse it would get, but I am buckled in, and will be riding this through to the finish line.