Oh, the joy of reviewing another magical Nicolas Cage film. As we know, he opened the 2011 year with one of the worst films I’ve ever seen. Why would I expect Drive Angry to be any different? It’s not like Cage has any less debt to pay off, right?
Oh, the joy of reviewing another magical Nicolas Cage film. As we know, he opened the 2011 year with one of the worst films I’ve ever seen. Why would I expect Drive Angry to be any different? It’s not like Cage has any less debt to pay off, right? And with a movie that involves him escaping from Hell to save his grand daughter from a demonic cult, well, this has gotta be a treat of the worst kind.
So imagine my surprise when I actually found myself mildly entertained by Drive Angry. Oh I know. Please believe me when I say I am the last person to have expected to garner any entertainment value out of this other than Plan 9 Syndrome amusement. If you haven’t seen Plan 9 From Outer Space, see it and then you’ll know what that syndrome is. I’m pretty sure I coined that term, too.
So, as I said, Nic Cage plays John Milton (you know, like the poet that wrote Paradise Lost?), who has escaped from Hell to get back his grand daughter from a crazy Satanic cult that killed his daughter. Apparently this baby will usher in a new age of blah blah blah. Amber Heard plays Piper (HAHA) who quits her waitressing job after the boss/cook grops her. Then she finds out her boyfriend is a cheating bastard ane that leads her to now having anything else to do but help Milton find this baby. But, hey, who cares, Amber Heard is crazy hot and I’ll just accept that she is window dressing. Not that she’s a poor actress, but her role is barely justifiable.
Nic Cage is at his moderately adequate here. I could see Keanu Reeves in this role, that’s the “Note of One” School of Acting that Reeves must be teaching Cage. I’ve seen Cage worse, but I’ve seen him better…maybe 10 years ago. The brief shining light of Kick Ass is just not enough. But here he walks around killing people real good, using a shotgun, various hand guns, and even a couple cars. Yeah, he really does drive angry here. Hey did you know they have awesome hot rods in Hell? And apparently you can steal them and just drive out the firey Gates without being stopped. I consider this useful information because I’m pretty sure I won’t be floating some blimp into the Pearly ones.
The highlight of the cast is by far William Fichtner as The Accountant. Yeah, he’s the agent of Hell trying to collect Milton. He’s great. He’s badass, wears a nice suit, and fucks a lot people up in his search for Milton. And Billy Burke is Jonah King, the leader of this pesky cult that has the baby. He’s slimey and evil and all, but it’s not like he’s rewriting the book on that sort of thing here. He gets to look down the barrell of something called The Godkiller, a big, muti-barrell old-timey looking firearm that Milton is carrying around with him.
The Accountant asks him, “How’d you get that, anyway?” Milton says, “I just walked in and took it.” Really? A big gun with a name like “Godkiller”? And THEN you managed to take a sweet set of wheels and just drive the fuck out of Hell? I don’t know if it’s plausible, but it’s pretty hardcore. Tells you something about this guy. Or something about the security in Hell. I’d say you have to suspend the crap out of your disbelief, but frankly this movie doesn’t really bother to set up any rules; they just tell you what’s up and you’re in the middle of it. There’s no real exposition or set up. They just jump right in. In that sense, it all works fine. It’s not particularly original, but it does have fun. I even laughed some. It’s also kinda gory on occasion. Nothing serious, just a hand being blown off here, impaling someone there. Leave the young-un’s at home, though. Wait, was I being sarcasitc there or not? I guess we’ll never know.
Believe it or not, the one thing I would have liked Drive Angry to do is to go even more over the top. I figure if you’re going to do a movie like this, go for broke. Everybody could have been MORE of what they were. All in all, though, this was fairly satisfying for what it was. But then, my expectations were really low going in. If this genre is your thing, go see a matinee or catch the DVD when it’s time. But don’t see it for Cage. See it for Fichtner. I’m actually giving this just about 3 out of 5 kittenhands. Maybe 2 and 3/4?
~ Neil T. Weakley, your average movie-goer, somehow managed to avoid making the obvious joke about driving home angry after seeing this.