Milton handling shotgun
I don't think there's a film that's as upfront about what it wants to be as Drive Angry
is. It wants to be the next great "grindhouse" film, filled with blood, guts, gore, cheesy one-liners, over-the-top acting and boobs (plenty of boobs). For the most part, Drive Angry
has all of this stuff, even if it feels a bit perfunctory throughout. It's most definitely a fun time at the movies, but it really, really could have been great. Or at least, the next "great" (as in "ironically amazing") Nicolas Cage
Billy Burke as Jonah King
There's a fairly complicated story in Drive Angry
, but I'm sure I'll do my best explaining it to the audience. Jonah King, played with Southern Fried delight by Billy Burke
, is the leader of a Satanic Cult who is attempting to sacrifice a newborn girl to his lord and savior so that the Antichrist (and the rest of Hell) may walk the Earth. Unfortunately, that newborn is the orphaned granddaughter of one John Milton (played by Nicolas "Greatest Living Actor" Cage). Milton himself died years earlier and is busting out of Hell in order to save his granddaughter and stop the Devil from taking over the world. Milton is not alone, however, as he is aided by a fiesty young waitress named Piper (Amber Heard
) along the way. Oh and let's not forget that Milton has another antagonist attempting to stop him in his tracks- a shadowy figure known as The Accountant (William Fichtner
) is currently on his tail and doing everything he possibly can to bring Milton back to where he belongs. Mostly, the story is just an impetus for car chases and overly gory shoot-out sequences, and that's totally fine. There's really no time for things like "plot" or "character development" in this film, so the lack of all that really doesn't bother me one bit.
I feel like all the actors in the film do their job fairly well. Nicolas Cage is great, but maybe not as manic enough as you would have hoped he would be in this role. If you were expecting something reaching the heights of Bad Lieutenant
or The Wicker Man
, you will be disappointed. But still, Nic Cage is the only man in Hollywood who can say that he'd drink beer out of a man's skull, and you'd believe him.
Burke's fantastic, and he's especially squirrelly and repugnant as the suave, slick but evil cult leader. Amber Heard hasn't really had much of a chance to really break out of her role as the prerequisite hot chick, but this might be her shot. Her Southern accent is certainly over-the-top, but she kicks a lot of ass throughout the film and she looks gorgeous doing it, so I commend her. William Fichtner, by far, is the best part of Drive Angry
. His performance is completely tongue-in-cheek, as if he knows that he's making an intentional "B-movie". Fichtner owns the film whenever he's on screen, and there are multiple times where I would laugh out loud watching his quirky mannerisms or hearing his sly, matter-of-fact one-liners. He's fantastic as The Accountant, and I'd really like to see him in other, similar roles in the near future.
Bill Fichtner= Amazing
is a film that aims to hit the checklist for grindhouse movies- everything here is tasteless and has an over-the-top quality. Gunfights aren't just violent, they're extremely gory. Female nudity is plentiful and everything blows up real nice. In a way though, Drive Angry
reminds me a ton of Patrick Lussier's
last film, My Bloody Valentine 3D
. That was a film that wanted to go completely over the top, that wanted to be an authentically great slasher flick. At times it hit that mark, but the film always felt like it was trying too hard. Drive Angry
is the same way. Yes, there are some really fun action scenes. Yes, the ladies are gorgeous (and extra naked). Yes, there are some cheesy one liners and neat 3D visual tricks. But it still doesn't feel right to me. It's a well-made film, for sure, but it's not as effortlessly well-made as, say, Machete
Sometimes too much awesomeness is just as bad as not enough. It just goes to show that you can't set out to make a cult, authentic "B-movie". It's just something that happens. I don't think that means Drive Angry
is not worth a watch. It's entertaining and a good way to spend a couple of hours. It isn't the Nicolas Cage trainwreck you've been waiting for, but on its own, it's a well-made, over-the-top and fun action movie. And you know what? That's just enough for me.