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A ridiculously over-the-top and wildly enjoyable thrill ride
8/10 Nicolas Cage takes a lot of flack for his acting choices. The man is likely the most inconsistent actor in the entirety of Hollywood, jumping from headlining critically acclaimed films like Leaving Las Vegas and Adaptation to headlining putrid, bottom of the barrel films like Next and The Wicker Man. But going through his filmography, sorting the good from the bad, and the bad from the unwatchable, you will find a good handful of films that are just meant to be silly and fun. This is where Drive Angry 3D resides.5 years ago
John Milton (Cage) did some bad things, and was sent to hell as a result. After the death of his daughter and the kidnapping of his granddaughter at the hands of crazy cult leader Jonah King (Billy Burke), Milton escapes hell and becomes a man on a mission. As he hunts and searches for King, he brings the gorgeous Piper (Amber Heard) along for the ride to assist him in his quest.
Drive Angry 3D was unfairly trampled by critics when it was released just under a month ago, and it is a real shame it never was able to find a true audience. Just looking at the trailer should have suggested exactly what kind of film you were in for, and this one delivers at all turns. Right after its gory and explosion-filled opening, you get one ridiculous set piece after the next, moving at a near delirious speed through some of the most over-the-top sequences of the last decade. There is an almost automatic comparison to Grindhouse and more specifically, Death Proof, and it is well warranted. There is next to nothing to take seriously in Drive Angry 3D. There is no thinking involved. It was never meant to look or act like an Oscar-winner. All it wants is for you to strap in and enjoy the ride.
A lot of the fun and enjoyment comes from the 3D more than I would like to admit. The film is of the rare breed of actually being filmed in 3D as opposed to being post-converted, and you can tell in just how much stronger and better it looks as a result. There are no real dull or dark moments, and only a few instances where it feels like the gimmick it actually is. In most cases, it just looks natural and stylish a natural progression for the grindhouse, B-movie genre. And though the special effects do look cheesy, they fit in almost perfectly with the visual motif and landscape the 3D provides for the film. But it is not just the elements that pop out and on the screen that are impressive. A flashback scene, with Cage flashing back in the foreground and the scene playing out in the background is of particular note, because it actually does something unique outside of what we have come to expect from the 3D effects Hollywood continues to pump out. It adds to the medium, and suggests that we may see some creativity out of this format yet.
The rest of the fun, when not laughing near maniacally at all the brutal carnage going on (the effects of "The Godkiller" are of particular note), comes from the goofy dialogue and delivery from the cast. They may look stone faced, but you can tell they are having a great time acting out this preposterous storyline. Burke and William Fichtner (who plays the Devil's right hand man, The Accountant) seem to be having the most fun hamming it up, and doling out ridiculous one-liners. Just watching them react and play their roles so deliciously over-the-top is more than enough reason to see the film on its own. Heard plays the drop-dead gorgeous blonde she has perfected over the years to a tee, adding in a bad ass rebellious attitude for good measure. While she does not wear those fantastic booty shorts for the entirety of the film, rest assured that you will not complain about her other outfit choices (if of course, that is a selling point to your watching the film).
Surprisingly, Cage plays Milton cool and monotone. He does the most outrageous things in the movie, and gets many of the great one-liners, but he seems very mellowed out in every instance. He seems to not be his over-the-top, absurdist self, which is saying a lot since he's made a habit in the last few years of making each character more unusually eccentric than the last (see The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans and Kick-Ass for proof). He seems perfectly comfortable playing his character as the closest thing to the straight man, while everyone else acts over-the-top.
What I disliked about the film was that it stumbles as it nears the finish line. Late in the film, David Morse is introduced merely as a means for the plot to advance to the ludicrous ending. And all his character does is stall the film, and make it run longer than it needs to. While his entrance sheds a bit of light on Milton as a character, by that point it is too little, too late. As stated previously, this is not the kind of film that benefits from characterization and explanation. It revels in saying and doing irrational and silly things. Why try to turn the movie around on its audience, who had been eating up every word and action until that point? It just makes the film run longer, and takes away some of the fun.
Granted you know what you are getting into, Drive Angry 3D is a ridiculously over-the-top and incredibly fun diversion. This not a serious movie in the least, and may even offend some people with how outrageous it is. But if you can handle the heat, this underrated gem may prove we cannot give up on Nicolas Cage just yet.
(This review also appeared on http://www.geekspeakmagazine.com).
Is that your tongue in your cheek or are you just pleased to see me?
9/10 If you've seen the trailer you know what this films about. A Grandfather everyone thought was dead is out to save his baby granddaughter from the clutches of a gang of devil worshippers. Thats the plot in a nutshell and you don't need to know anymore.5 years ago
This film is really a throwback to the old 70's revenge movies. The dialogue is purposely cheesy. The violence is over the top. There's nudity and gore and a few laughs to be had along the way. Nicholas Cage gives another fine unhinged performance delivering these cheesy lines like he was doing Shakespeare. Amber Heard as the sexy sidekick is just as good, but possible the best performance is from William Fichtner as the accountant. The music is loud the gunshots louder and the 3D is great all the way through.
For me it had a similar feel to the crank movies and planet terror. It was just stupid fun and I loved it.
Straight forward action movie with cliché one-liners, explosions and muscle cars
7/10 Let me first state that i don't really like Nicholas Cage. However in this movie it really didn't bother me all that much. So even if you're like me and don't like Cage you can still see this movie. ;-) On to the movie itself. It's a rather straight forward action movie with a bad-ass good-guy who chases a bad guy with and his supporters. Milton (Cage) has some history with the baddie and on his way to get to him he uses guns, big explosions and prefers travel by classic American muscle car. While doing so he picks up a hot chick (Heard) to accompany him on the road. That's basically it.5 years ago
The reason i still give it a 7 out of 10 is that the action is pretty nice, most of the special effects are good and the story, although limited, moves along at a steady pace so you won't get bored. Fichtner's side character is also quite cool. The things a don't like about the film are some cliche dialogs with silly one-liners and the feeling that the makers aim for cult status. Too bad the movie isn't good enough for it, but if you hear a title like 'Drive Angry' you expect a simple action movie and that's exactly what you get. Always nice from time to time.
Basically a guilty pleasure, knew it would be a bad movie but didn't expect it to be so entertaining
7/10 This movie really is one of those guilty pleasure types, where you know it's a bad movie but really enjoy watching it because of the crazy entertainment value. It also has a grindhouse feel to it as well, a very entertaining grindhouse type film. There is just certain elements in this movie that made it entertaining despite it having a bad script and not a very well crafted dialogue with one liners. When I first saw the trailer to this movie I already could tell it's going to be a bad movie, it looked like "Gone in Sixty Seconds" with a vengeance. The movie is ridiculous and absurd in so many levels, but for a movie like this that is one of the key factors why this movie is so enjoyable. Billy Burke is pretty good playing the cult leader but the most entertaining actor to watch in this movie is William Fichtner as The Accountant or the Devil's right hand man, he is great in this and I enjoyed every scene he was in. In fact I wouldn't mind seeing a prequel or a sequel to this movie where he is the main character. What I really enjoyed besides William Fichtner performance is the 3D effect, this is a movie that is well worth the extra cash to see it in 3D. The 3D is very well executed and used very well and added a lot to the entertainment factor. The sex scenes and nudity is very unique at times and kinda funny in others. Amber Heard is beautiful in this and hot, in fact I personally think the overrated Megan Fox has nothing on her when it comes to the level of hotness. Plus Amber Heard can act a bit better than Megan Fox, although she is pretty in other movies she is really beautiful in this. It's not a movie that should be taken seriously and it knows it's not going in a serious direction and does it well, with bunch of stuff that doesn't make any sense. If your looking for a good story you will be disappointed, but if your looking for a crazy and entertaining balls to the wall type of movie I recommend you see this.5 years ago
Review: Drive Angry 3D
7/10 Milton (Nicholas Cage), long hair bleached and greased back with vengeance, tosses his duffel bag into the back of newly-met stranger Piper's (Amber Heard) Dodge Charger. With her hands shoved into her daisy barely dukes, the uncertainty in her gaze is lost on, or possibly ignored by, Milton. As he opens the door to get in:5 years ago
Piper: "I don't pick up hitchhikers, you know."
Milton: "I wasn't stickin' out my thumb."
*car door slam*
This early scene sums up exactly what you're getting yourself into with the Nicholas Cage driven movie, Drive Angry. You've seen the trailers. You've experienced Cage's knack to play unhinged, surrealistic characters. This 70's throwback to the pulp, metal on metal, grindhouse era of film doesn't ask you if you want a ride. You jump in without invitation and only know one thing: you'd better strap in. And it's with this that Drive Angry does not disappoint.
Milton, in his '64 Riviera, has just escaped from imprisonment and is searching for a baby snatched from her mother by a devil-worshipping cult hellbent on a full moon sacrifice led by Jonah King (Billy Burke of The Twilight Saga), a southernly sadistic soothsayer. It seems Milton's own daughter was once stolen from him by the same cult and, well, he's experiencing a little road rage as he shoots his way through one lead to the next. Along the way, he joins up with Piper and her '68 Charger who's pretty looks pack a pretty punch and isn't afraid to gun and run. All the while they are being chased across 6 state lines by trigger happy cops and The Accountant (William Fichtner of Prison Break), a seemingly supernatural hunter looking to return Milton to his warm, warm prison. Throw in a '71 Chevelle, unapologetic bloodshed, and absolutely necessary explosions, and you have one darkly comedic, action fueled vehicle.
Drive Angry embraces the fact that it is ridiculous by nature which makes it very enjoyable. The over the top dialogue, car chases, and 3D shootouts really add to making this a midnight moviegoer's film. Patrick Lussier and Todd Farmer (My Bloody Valentine 3D) aimed to keep the integral car sequences visceral and strayed away from CGI for a majority of the chases, though there is plenty of CGI elsewhere. Being an unabashed opponent to the influx of 3D in the cinema today, Drive Angry was filmed as a 3D film from the start and I actually liked it. Some shots were intentionally gimmicky which added to the humor, but the entire movie is a bit over the top and it flowed nicely.
Drive Angry makes no assumptions that it is anything but a popcorn-spilling, laugh-out- loud, violently raw roller coaster on its way no where near an Oscar. And it's better for it. If you don't mind having an arm shot and projected at your face while Nic Cage loses touch with reality, Drive Angry will provide an entertaining distraction from the repetitive daily commute.
3.5 seat belts out of 5