DRIVE ANGRY 3D
***1/2 (out of 5)
Febuary 25, 2011
Nicolas Cage as MILTON
Amber Heard as PIPER
William Fichtner as THE ACCOUNTANT
Billy Burke as JONAH KING
David Morse as WEBSTER
Tom Atkins as CAP
Directed by: Patrick Lussier
BY KEVIN CARR
Listen to Kevin’s radio review…
Four years ago, Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez teamed up to bring the more than three hour double feature “Grindhouse” to the big screen. While the double-bill itself was a bit of a flop with mainstream audiences, it was a hit with fanboys and rekindled a niche love for exploitation cinema.
I’ve been a fan of these kinds of movies for years, spending many hours in local movie theaters, watching all-night movie marathons and genre flicks that had no other place in the world. Strangely enough, paired with the release of “Machete” last fall, “Drive Angry” has breathed new life into the genre. And for one, I am thrilled to see it.
“Drive Angry” follows a man named Milton (Nicolas Cage), who escapes from Hell to avenge the death of his daughter at the hands of a freaky, wispy Satanic cult leader named Jonah King (Billy Burke) who likes to dress like Elvis. King has also kidnapped Milton’s infant granddaughter and plans to sacrifice her at the next full moon. While Milton is hot on King’s tail, he is also being followed by the mysterious “Accountant” (William Fichtner), whose mission is to bring him back to Hell.
Oh, and the white-hot Amber Heard shows up in short jeans shorts, looking mighty fine. That’s not terribly critical to the plot, but it’s definitely worth a mention.
A film like “Drive Angry” is actually pretty simple. It exists to show some whip-ass action, fiery explosions, great car chases, fast cars and scantily clad (and sometimes not-clad-at-all) women. If you like that sort of thing, you’ll have a blast watching this movie.
Unlike some other films in this genre (including Quentin Tarantino’s own “Death Proof”), “Drive Angry” never slows down. It moves at a ferocious clip through its 100+ minutes, and there’s really no time to catch your breath.
Directed by Patrick Lussier, whose previous effort was the deliciously bloody “My Bloody Valentine 3D,” “Drive Angry” is meant to entertain at the lowest level. But the fact that it knows its place in the cinematic landscape makes it fun to watch.
Sure, there are serious problems with the script, and the dialogue is excruciating at times. But this all works in the spirit of the film. You don’t expect Oscar-caliber writing in a movie about Nicolas Cage coming back from the dead. Sure, the guy might be letting his IRS attorney pick his movies (which is to say any offer that comes across his desk), but this one happens to be a good choice.
Finally, it’s worth mentioning the 3D presentation of this film. Unlike many of its contemporary counterparts, “Drive Angry” was not subjected to the post-conversion process. While this process is being improved every day and is producing some solid efforts (like this year’s “The Green Hornet”), it’s still not perfect. With “Drive Angry” being shot in 3D, you get a crystal-clear picture with plenty of depth and very little eye strain… just don’t sit too close to the screen.
Like Lussier’s “My Bloody Valentine 3D,” this film was made for the 3D environment and pushes the limits. Sure, it’s gimmicky as hell, but the entire film is gimmicky as hell. That’s part of its charm. All this makes “Drive Angry” is a nice alternative to the Oscar films making most of the news this weekend.