Drive Angry: Violent, Obscene, and Fun to Watch
Can someone please explain to me Nicholas Cage? This guy is one of the weirdest actors out there. He has the potential to be a good actor and occasionally is, but for every good role he plays, he gives us a few roles that are just strange and/or bad. I think a good example of this is Ghost Rider where he plays a stunt motorcyclist who sold his soul to the devil. I watched the first half of this movie in the Commons, and I was just laughing at the sheer stupidity of it. Cage’s acting was a combination of ham and his usual gruff whisper that just adds to the oddity that is Nicholas Cage. Now, the reason I bring up Ghost Rider is because he again plays a person who is confined to Hell in Drive Angry.
Yes, Nicholas Cage is back in this 3-D action film giving us that usual element of strangeness that he somehow brings. From a title like Drive Angry, you’d expect a basic car chase/car race movie. Well, it isn’t. In fact, expect a lot of sex, a lot of violence, a lot of gore, a lot of cheap effects, a lot of profanity…and surprisingly a lot of fun out of it. Believe it or not, I actually enjoyed watching this film despite how many elements it has to hate it. The cheap effects and the clichéd moments were offset by the good acting and the fun tone of the film.
Nicholas Cage plays John Milton (get it?), a man who somehow breaks out of Hell to prevent the baby of his murdered daughter being sacrificed by the Satanic cult leader who killed her named Jonah King (Billy Burke). He comes across Piper (Amber Heard), a girl who likes fast cars and cusses like a sailor, and takes her along for the ride. But following Milton’s path is a minion of Hell called The Accountant (William Fichtner) who tries to take Milton back to Hell.
To take care of the poor things first, the special effects were pretty cheap. The coin The Accountant flips, the bones that fly out, and the bullets that Milton fire come from the low end of computer graphics. Throw in the cliché of exploding cars and the 3-D gimmicks of things coming at you which get pretty annoying at times. The car chase between Milton and the Accountant is pretty downplayed, and the villain is pretty one-dimensional: crazy demonic Southern man with a gun. But Nicholas Cage is on the up-side of his strange roles in this one because he actually does make his character interesting, as does William Fichtner. In fact, I was actually upset that I didn’t get to see enough of Fichtner because he makes his one-dimensional character really interesting. Amber Heard, though, was the best of the three. She gives her character that feistiness, edge and sexiness that makes her really entertaining to watch. On top of that, the gun fight scenes can be pretty cool. The best one has to be when Nicholas Cage kills everybody while having sex with a waitress in a hotel room. That was just cool. There are some car chases that are fun, but they’re not what you would expect from the title. They’re not so angry.
What also makes this interesting is how subtle they make the references that Milton is from Hell. They open with him leaving Hell, and they talk about people saying he’s dead, but it’s not so blatantly obvious that he is from Hell until right around the end. Cage’s character does offer euphemisms such as “locked up”, but that’s as obvious as it gets. We know that Milton can’t be killed because he gets shot in the eye but still survives. In fact, neither he nor the Accountant can be killed except by a special gun with magical powers that can send someone into complete oblivion (and by that, I mean no heaven or hell). Yeah, that idea is stupid, but this is a grindhouse film.
Bottom line: Drive Angry is gory, violent, obscene, and it’s pretty fun watching it. The characters can be one-dimensional, but the acting makes them interesting. The fight scenes can be amusing though cheap, but cheap thrills can be better than none at all. It suffers from being gimmicky with its 3-D and special effects, and the story and characters don’t have much development, but it’s surprisingly entertaining. It’s not for the faint of heart, but it’s not too bad either.
Final Rating: 6 out of 10 – I’d Go