Drive Angry

10 Apr

Title: Drive Angry
Patrick Lussier
Writers: Todd Farmer, Patrick Lussier
Nicolas Cage, Amber Heard, William Fichtner, Katy Mixon, David Morse, Billy Burke
MPAA Rating:
R, strong brutal violence throughout, grisly images, some graphic sexual content, nudity and pervasive language
104 min
Major Awards:

IMDb Rating:
Rotten Tomatoes:

The first 2011 film I saw was Season of the Witch, one that also starred Nicolas Cage and that I gave a low C- to. I talked a bit about Mr. Cage on my review for it, and said that I had respect for the actor because no matter what everyone said about him, he still has been great in a number of films in the past decade (I’m talking about Adaptation., Matchstick Men or Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans), but I did understand why people were so polarized by him.

For once, it seems like the guy is just popping up everywhere, in all sorts of genres and roles and just apparently doing it for the cash. And so long as a few of them end up being hits I won’t mind, but what I expected from the aforementioned Season of the Witch was that it would be so bad that it would approach a great level of campiness and would thus end up being quite fun to watch. That didn’t happen, that film didn’t get to the point in which it was so bad it’s good, but what happened in Drive Angry is more like that. This is a film that’s so awesomely over-the-top, that so fully embraces its B-movie grindhouse look that the end result is thoroughly satisfying.

I love these films, the sort of movies that are so ridiculous that they end up being awesome. Films that are so committed to its own kind of tom-foolery, ones that, while being so crappy in its story and style, are still really well-made, which is quite a rare feat to accomplish. It’s certainly not for everyone, because it’s easy to acknowledge the film you’re watching is quite bad, but once you learn to appreciate that campy aesthetic and demeanor, then you may just find yourself feeling like I did, marveled by its very own existence and nature.

A cool tribute to those nifty exploitation films that are now three decades old, but with the added campiness that the 3D enabled it with. Not to mention that we all know Mr. Cage can be pretty mad in his acting when he wants to, and when you see him just killing, drinking and having sex here, you’ll know this is the crazy vehicle that’s able to go head-to-head with his manic self.

And this one also has Amber Heard, who I’m a fan of, and who you might probably know from being extremely hot in films like Pineapple Express and Zombieland. Her being so sexy obviously helps her role in a film like this, in which girls have to be ridiculously hot, but she’s also quite good here, just having fun with her role, and further establishing herself as a huge up-and-comer, a status which will be further cemented with future roles in October’s The Rum Diary alongside Johnny Depp and her starring role in NBC’s upcoming Playboy TV series.

And you know what’s so cool about Drive Angry? That it actually made good use of 3D technology. For the record, I usually don’t really like 3D. I mean, I’m not a huge detractor of it, because I can see how it could make a film cooler to look at and I love how insane it is to watch a film come out of the screen, but most of the times I find myself hating the 3D films because I think the technology hasn’t yet been developed to the point in which it can give an added plus to a film without taking something away from it, especially when it makes films look that much darker.

However, in Drive Angry the 3D is used to great effect because this is a film that’s so ridiculous that it’s incredibly fun to watch it all in that added dimension. Cars, women and violence in 3D, it doesn’t get much better than that, and this is a film that knows that, and uses the technology to its fullest advantage, just upping its own stakes with every scene into one noisy-as-hell ride.

I don’t know how much of the plot I should tell you about right now, I mean, every bit of it is so cool in its out-of-there style that it would be better for you to marvel at its nature as the film goes along. The plot, though evidently just thought up to come up with as many crazy-ass situations as possible, is still quite cool, and the characters here are all awesomely manic and unique. There are satanic cults, a 1969 Dodge Charger driven by a gorgeous girl and a whole lot of violence shown in three dimensions for you to behold.

You read that sentence above and tell me how many movies will have all of those elements wrapped together with yet another crazy performance by Nicolas Cage. The answer you’re looking for is none. So, if only because this one is really a one-of-a-kind film, you should go see Drive Angry. There’s a scene in which Mr. Cage is having sex, while smoking, while drinking, and while shooting a bunch of satanic thugs. Enough said.

Grade: B+


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