Drive Angry 3D: You’d Quite Like Him When He’s Angry

In one sentence: Drive Angry features the second finest gunfight/sex scene in recent years.

That just about sums up everything you need to know about Patrick Lussier’s insane action mess. It’s aiming to settle in the same chaotic grindhouse where the Crank’s, Shoot ‘Em Up and, well, Grindhouse, spends their weekends putting infants in danger amongst flipping cars and oversized explosions. What I’m saying is that Drive Angry can comfortably slot in somewhere in the living room but won’t be in charge of the remote. Presumably, the remote is on fire. Also, it’s actually a gun.

Drive Angry is knowingly gratuitous and it takes great pleasure and pride in being limitlessly stupid. The only problem is that it’s not quite as mad as it probably could and should be, which is saying something for a film where 95% of the starring cast end up as roadkill before the credits roll. That’s not to say that Drive Angry doesn’t fulfil the promises of it’s premise. Nicolas Cage plays hell-fleeing Milton with a barely repressed glee as he drifts cars, causes explosions and delivers shlock one-liners like he was born to do it – which he obviously was. He’s joined by Amber Heard, a no-nonsense southern lass with a heart of gold and fists of fury, and William Fichtner whose Accountant very much becomes the film’s heart and soul. Sadly, his role in the film is negligible but the few times he rears his cool, well-dressed apparition the film takes a turn for the awesomer.

The pace does sadly grind to a halt at times which is a debilitating flaw for a film of this kind. This mostly occurs when the main antagonist, a crazed cult leader played by Billy Burke takes centre stage. He plays his supposedly maniacal messiah figure with nothing but dull apprehension and he can’t manage to make his evil villain feel threatening or interesting. For a man who has the supposed command of a massive number of suicidally dedicated followers he is awfully uncharismatic and it is hard to see how he has massed up such a posse when he seems so thoroughly inept at this cult business. For a satanic sect, there really isn’t much personality to these people at all and that’s a shame, especially when the movie’s centre of gravity is the ritualistic murder of an infant – think Paul Giamatti’s wonderfully sadistic villain in Shoot ‘Em Up. I’m just saying, I was expecting more ham from these people, but I suppose I shouldn’t ask too many how’s and why’s about a film that could have been written by the designer of Meat Loaf’s album covers.

In the end, Drive Angry’s cheques are cashed. Nicolas Cage is a delight as always and the 3D gimmicks match the spectacle of the effects to satisfaction. It’s only real blemish is that it can’t bring itself to truly Statham-like levels of madness at the same ratio as its betters, but at least it aims for the moon and manages to blow up a few satellites and scattered airliners on its way to the stars. Which are presumably also blown up in the process.


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