Drive Angry (2011) Out now on DVD & Bluray
(18) Running time: 104 mins
Director: Patrick Lussier
Writers: Todd Farmer, Patrick Lussier
Starring: Nicholas Cage, Amber Heard, William Fichtner
Reviewed by: Matt Wavish, official HCF critic
In Drive Angry Nicholas Cage does what he does best, acts a bit mad but with a strange charm and elegance, and yet with a confused and worried look on his face. Here he plays John Milton a chap who has appeared in Oklahoma out of nowhere on the hunt for a nasty fella by the name of Jonah King (Billy Burke). King is a Satanist and has recently murdered Milton’s daughter and has taken his baby granddaughter with the plan to sacrifice the child to bring Satan to Earth. Milton has three days to track down the Satanist and save his granddaughter and the world! However, Milton has his other problems, not only is the law after him, but so is a bizarre character dressed all tidy-like in a posh suit waving around an FBI badge whenever anyone questions what he is doing. This guy is known simply as The Accountant, and he is played superbly by William Fichtner. Milton also picks up a passenger along the way, the mouthy, swearing waitress Piper (Amber Heard). She has more looks than agreeable personality, rushing to Milton’s side after Milton saves her from her bald headed abusive, cheating boyfriend.
Plot wise, thats about as far as it goes, Milton ‘borrows’ Piper’s boyfriends car and uses it to pursue King, while in an equally fast car is The Accountant right behind him! The full title of the film is actually Drive Angry 3D, due to it being released in cinemas only in 3D, so watching it on DVD at home and only in 2D meant I sort of missed half the fun. Whereas the Avatars and the Up’s and even Transformers: Dark of the Moon are all about making you feel like you are actually in the movie, Drive Angry is one of the few 3D films I have seen that actually appears to make full use of the formula. Bullets fly at you constantly, knives, fists, fire, bottles, Amber Heards tits, its all here and you can clearly see that director Lussier embraces the 3D gimmick and shows it for what it is and always should have been, a gimmick, fun, something to really improve the enjoyment of the film rather than show off a director’s personal up himself effects. Drive Angry is all about fun, take this film seriously and you are gonna hate it. Take it with a good pinch of salt, at face value and laugh at how stupid it is, and you just might enjoy it.
This film is far from brilliant, but it serves its purpose and entertains throughout. Cage is his usual self, a bit weird, seems like he’s pissed half the time but he is constantly enjoyable to watch and he looks like he’s having a blast. One of his highlights is during a rampant sex session with a hotel prostitute a group of hired guns turn up to kill him and he proceeds to continue having sex, drinking whisky and smoking a big fat cigar while he rolls and stumbles around the room, whisky in one hand, weapon in the other, cigar in mouth and hooker firmly attached. It’s a glorious scene and just goes to prove this film is all about having a bit of a laugh. He fires shots, throws knives and ducks and dives out of the way of bullets, machetes and other weapons while the hooker screams her head off! Amber Heard also does what she does best, tries desperately to act while looking stunning. She doesn’t really offer up anything to film apart from looks and an extra character. She has her moments, but the real hero of this film is William Fichtner as The Accountant. He smoothly glides in and out of scenes hot on Milton’s trail, he pays a visit to Pipers now ex-boyfriend who’s just had his ass kicked by Milton. The Accountant is nice to begin with then loses patience and for the first time in the film we realise he aint normal. As he starts to beat up the ex-boyfriend, who embarrassingly complains “why does everyone want to hit me today?” he gets more mad and throws a large spike at him, pinning him up on the wall. Casually walking out the house he meets the police who try to arrest him, he flicks a coin in the air, as the police watch in come down they are suddenly faced with the Accountant waving an FBI badge and he goes about his business. Every time he appears on screen he is a mad, crazy bastard son of a bitch to watch. Fearless and, it would seem, invincible he plays and toys with Milton and even cracks jokes while the two are in a high speed chase sitting alongside each other. He whistles to Milton to winde his window down without a care in the world and even laughs as Piper takes shots at him. Fichtner plays his part so well he literally steals every scene and brings a huge amount of good natured (or bad natured depending on how you look at it) fun to the film.
Drive Angry is not a good film, it is a very average film but is lifted by some great characters, brilliant use of the three main actors, the special effects are a bit ropey in places but, like I said the 3D I would assume is brilliant. There is some serious graphic violence going on here, there are strong horror elements throughout and the action rarely lets up. The pacing is spot on for this type of movie, not taking too long to bother with plot details and preferring to get right to the action, much of it is highly predictable but sometimes you want to just watch a film where you know how it will pan out and you can bugger off to the toilet without having to pause the darned thing. If you are a fan of Cage at his whacky, crazy best then again you can’t go far wrong, but there are time when his acting is highly questionable. Lussier gets the road movie come horror spot on, and this gives hope to his upcoming Halloween 3.Drive Angry is a simple film with the odd moment of originality and brilliance which I shant reveal because they do offer up some inventive twists. See it for yourself, but if you can, view it in 3D.