Directed by Patrick Lussier
Written by Patrick Lussier and Todd Farmer
Get ready to Drive! Angry! 3D! Except I saw it in 2D because that’s how my TV works. And after testing a 3D TV at the store, we’ll continue to stay 2D forever. But enough of my complaining, let’s get to Drive Angry, a film that is totally awesome in a bad movie spectacular sort of way. Drive Angry knows that it is ridiculous, and it just goes with it.
When Drive Angry 3D was announced, the title alone was enough to say that the movie will be dumb fun, but the biggest concern was if the movie could live up to the dumb fun promised. There have been plenty of films that were built up and ended up being less than promised, and at this point as a jaded cult movie watcher, it takes more that a ridiculous title to impress me. That said, Drive Angry was entertaining and I quite enjoyed myself.
Nicolas Cage is Milton, who breaks out of Hell to go kill the dad from Twilight, Jonah King (Billy Burke), who is an evil cult leader that killed his daughter and is planning to sacrifice his infant granddaughter, opening a portal to Hell in the process. As the cult is staffed with some of the reddest necked rednecks who ever had red necks, this leads to much glorified violence as they are dispatched by Milton during his chase of Jonah King. Director Patrick Lussier knows how to take full advantage of the 3D, so there are plenty of things flying at the camera (which do nothing for poor 2D watchers like me), but the action is enough that you don’t need the theater experience to enjoy it.
Along the way, Milton picks up sassy waitress Piper (Amber Heard) and her car. It was nice having her in the film not as some sort of ridiculous love interest for Milton, but as someone who becomes his friend and is bonded that way. Milton is also being followed by The Accountant (William Fichtner), an agent of Hell who is there to make sure all souls who belong in Hell stay there. The only way to hurt The Accountant is with Milton’s big ancient gun, dubbed the God Killer.
It is probably no real surprise that William Fichtner steals the movie. Despite Nic Cage becoming a cult figure among the online audience, William Fichtner’s Accountant character gets all the good lines and looks cool while doing it. They are also smart enough to make The Accountant more nuanced than just a simple bounty hunter, and his relationship with Milton is more complicated than a simple hunter/hunted duality. Without spoiling too much, Fichtner popping up just when Milton and Piper are trapped before a roadblock is hilarious and worth the cost of the DVD rental alone.
Nic Cage plays Milton pretty much how I imagine Nic Cage acts in real life. There isn’t a wacky accent or weird proclivity to drink jelly beans from a wine glass to be found. Milton is pretty much a bad guy trying to do right, not just to ease his tortured soul, but to help what little he has left in the world survive.
We can’t leave without mentioning David Morse showing up as one of Milton’s old friends, David Morse always puts out a good performance and this is no exception. Though there is plenty of CGI things flying at the camera, I must commend the use of practical effects among some of the car crashes, which are a refreshing reminder that real stunts are the best stunts.
Drive Angry is fast-paced and enjoyable. It doesn’t break new ground, and even some of its best scenes are stolen from other films and cranked up a notch (the shootout during the sex scene with Charlotte Ross comes to mind, done far better than in Shoot ‘Em Up.) Drive Angry 3D would have been a stellar 3D experience, except the audience is limited (as demonstrated by the whole Grindhouse fiasco) and further cut down by it being in 3D, which adds on up to $5 a ticket. In these economic times, it was an easy choice to sit this one out. But for the B-movie fan on a budget, renting this from a Redbox is well worth your dollar.
Rated 7/10 (logo, neon, don’t we all?, bad boyfriend, Nic Cage, Nic Cage, Nic Cage)
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