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Drive Angry 3D

A movie directed by Patrick Lussier

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A Guy Movie With "Grindhouse" Sensibilities!

  • Feb 26, 2011
Whenever I go see a movie with Nicholas Cage these days, I always go in with very low expectations. Not sure why, but I guess I’ve been disappointed with the surge of movies he has done lately; most recently (barely two months ago) the uneven “Season of the Witch”. Well, director Patrick Lussier hasn’t exactly impressed me with his resume, but somehow I ended up watching “Drive Angry”. Not sure why but I guess I was in the right mood to see a silly, shoot ‘em up flick with a touch of the supernatural; it also doesn’t hurt when the movie has the very sexy Amber Heard in it.

Milton (Nicholas Cage) is a man condemned to stay in hell for all eternity because his past sins. But when a baby was abducted by a satanic cult in preparation for an evil ceremony, he escapes from hell to track down the group led by Jonah King (Billy Burke). Along his quest, Milton encounters a young sexy and spunky woman in jean shorts called Piper (Amber Heard, Never Back Down) who seems bored with her own life, hooking up with the wrong men and having screwball bosses at work. The two race across the Southlands to track down the satanic cult, and in turn, an errand boy from hell called the “Accountant” (William Fichtner) is hunting Milton to return him to hell…

                          Nicolas Cage as Milton in ``Drive Angry.''

                         Comic-Con concept art for "Drive Angry."

                        Comic-Con concept art for "Drive Angry."

The Crow” collides with “Desperado” and then crashes with “Death Proof”. Not really sure how to begin in reviewing this film. I know it is flawed, I know it has a flimsy plot, I know it is silly and I know there is absolutely nothing special about this film but yet somehow, I was entertained. I know films that take on a campy tone is always walking the difficult line along the lines of execution. If a movie plays it right and doesn’t hold back, there is a lot of fun to be had with it (take for example “Shoot “Em Up” and the recent “Machete“), if you do it too much, the absurdity can cave in on you (take “Crank”) and it feels like the viewer has been fooled. I guess those of you who follow my reviews know that I have no problems with grind house style filmmaking and cheap FX; that I actually revel in them when the execution is right. “Drive Angry” is not a film to be taken seriously and floats around the area of grind house movie making and has the basic required elements of a ‘guy movie’ while being in on the joke.

The direction isn’t pretentious, as it tries to go wild with the film. Milton is shown as the ultimate bad a$$ as he goes around killing his enemies and not surprising, that women in the film are somehow so attracted to him. The film screams ‘guy movie’ with all the elements that drive testosterone. A hot girl in short shorts with issues-check. Tons of muscle cars that are involved in a lot of chases and explosions-check. Full frontal nudity and sex-check. Bad hair jobs and goons with guns-check. Macho walks with explosions from behind-check. A bad a$$ hunter with powers and a sense of humor-check. A huge gun and loads of explosions and fireworks-check. There is the grindhouse spirit and sensibilities that I feel that Lussier was really trying to express. It works as the movie fills the screen with action, filled with blood and gore. It kind of reminds me of those Japanese movies that doesn’t make sense with outrageous original ideas that entertain; but for some reason, “Drive Angry” hits the spot but doesn’t exactly hit the right ones all the time.

                           A scene from "Drive Angry."


I guess the film loses some momentum when it tried but failed to make the right connections to the film. It held back with the silliness, but there was just no way one can take it seriously. The film delivers the blood and gore with the use of CGI and green screen effects, and this is no way to make a grind house feature. It appears too polished for a film that seemingly made its way through ‘camp’; and having an uneven tone takes away the purpose of grind house. The film uses bloodshed as part of its premise, it succeeds at times and yet, something just didn’t feel right. The script is also filled with jokes and one-liners accompanied with some posturing and hanging around the middle of a commercial flick and a B-movie feels uneven. Not sure, while I liked the silliness in some of them, I can feel that they could feel redundant.

                       Comic-Con concept art for "Drive Angry."

                      A scene from "Drive Angry."

Along with the direction, the performers make no effort to express that they are in the film’s joke. I suppose while Nicholas Cage did a decent job in portraying Milton, I still felt that he was a miscast. I liked the way he mowed through his opponents, killing his way to his goal, but there were times that he seemed to be trying too hard. Billy Burke looked like a 1970's fashion designer reject with the Billy Bob Thornton personality, and I guess this was intentional. Fichtner plays his role with some cool demeanor, he exaggerates and while the direction felt uneven, he does make for an entertaining supporting character. Amber Heard has this strong-willed spunky personality that just feels so sexy. I guess I don’t have to enumerate why I liked Heard in this role. The 3D aspects of the film doesn’t appear to be an essential part of the film, it feels like a gimmick so Hollywood could charge more for tickets; so you’re ok watching this in a standard DLP screen.

Play the absurd elements right, with a touch of discipline and a grind house film would be just so much fun. Play it too much and you will lose credibility and it will become another aggravating movie. Make it too campy and dirty, a film would feel messy and incoherent. Hold back and a movie like this can fail, and make the viewer in with its joke; it may prove disastrous if not done carefully. Not sure, “Drive Angry” fails as a grind house feature, but it aimed to please; it feels to be too commercial to be a grindhouse movie and yet it was too violent (and gory) for a mainstream flick. It has all the elements of a guy movie and has fun doing it. I suppose it can be close enough to it‘s a “so bad, it’s good”. Oh, Amber heard is very good and scorching hot!

Timid Recommendation, RENTAL First is advisable [3+ Out of 5 Stars]

Poster art for "Drive Angry."  Poster art for "Drive Angry."
A Guy Movie With Intentioned A Guy Movie With Intentioned

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February 27, 2011
Funny you mentioned Billy Bob, because every time I saw the trailer I thought of "Faster". Excellent review.
February 27, 2011
Yeah. I liked Faster too, it was simple and very grindhouse.
February 26, 2011
You already know what I'm going to say, don't you?
February 26, 2011
let's see, you would say...."Nic Cage's career is going to the pits for him to make such low-quality movies left and right, one after the other. His best role is in Kick Ass so far. This sounds like it could've been better but tried too much to please everyone. " ....did I get that right? LOL!
February 26, 2011
Close. I was going to say, "Nic Cage's career is making out to be like his film, "Gone in 60 Seconds"". LOL!
February 26, 2011
I actually thought that when I was watching it....at least, Amber Heard is pretty hot LOL!
February 26, 2011
LOL! She the one in the cowgirl boots?
February 26, 2011
yup-yup! as Jay had said: ..."luscious". LOL!
February 27, 2011
Not my type.
February 27, 2011
well, I prefer brunettes myself but I'll take anything LOL!
February 26, 2011
From watching the promos on TV, I had no idea this had a supernatural comic book vibe. I kinda thought it would be like that movie The Rock was in recently. (Can't remember the title.) I don't know...I kinda like movies like this just because I love cool sfx. I will say one thing though, those boots need to go far far away. :p
February 26, 2011
I had fun with this one, granted it wasn't anything groundbreaking and it feels rather uneven, but I have to say it is one of those movies that you can easily see again and again. Love your comment about the boots LOL!!
More Drive Angry 3D reviews
review by . July 28, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
** out of ****     As a movie directed by Patrick Lussier, the man behind the 3D remake of "My Bloody Valentine", the 2011 action-thriller "Drive Angry" doesn't exactly have room for what most of us would call "surprises". If you remember his previous feature well, you'll know that Lussier likes scenes of gratuitous nudity, violence, gore, and lots of profanity. Can't say I blame the guy; maybe he likes Grindhouse-style films. Nothing has changed; he's made another film which …
review by . July 16, 2011
A Fistful of Awesome Disguised as a Bad Movie
By every stretch of the imagination, Drive Angry should be a bad movie. Low budget car-chase action flick with demons battling from hell on southern highways? I mean, it's even got Nicholas "Wicker Man" Cage in it. This should definitely suck. Then why is it so damned enjoyable?      Maybe it's because this movie comes right at you with the full intention of being everything that it is without even flinching, let alone apologizing. You want an action/horror …
review by . February 26, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
Star Rating:         Drive Angry 3D is the kind of slam-bang, no-hold-barred action film I like. In its heedless brutality and machismo, in its willingness to tell a totally preposterous story, and in director Patrick Lussier’s audacity to shoot it in 3D, it sidesteps the roadblocks of logic and taste and achieves a perverse level of entertainment. Do you have standards? Leave them at the door. They won’t help you as you watch Nicholas Cage engage in …
Quick Tip by . July 16, 2011
So much fun, you can almost forgive it for being in 3D.
About the reviewer
William ()
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Please "Like" Film and Movies and Keep the Economy strong....LOL!!      My Interests: Movies, Anime, History, Martial Arts, Comics, Entertainment,Cooking, Things I don't … more
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