Review: Drive Angry 3D
PLOT: Sassy and sexy waitress Piper (Amber Heard) get more than she bargained for when she picks up a hitchhiker named Milton (Nicolas Cage). Turns out, he’s ummm…dead, and has escaped from hell to kill Jonah King (Billy Burke), the leader of a satanic cult who not only killed Cage’s daughter, but also kidnapped his granddaughter, with the aim of making the child a ritual sacrifice. What an asshole, right? Meanwhile, Milton is pursued by “The Accountant” (William Fichtner), Satan’s emissary, who’s been given the task of returning Milton’s soul to hell.
REVIEW: DRIVE ANGRY 3D is exactly the type of flick I hoped it would be; a good old fashioned B-movie that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Director Patrick Lussier, and writer Todd Farmer have crafted a gloriously trashy horror/action flick that throws in everything but the kitchen sink, all with the single minded goal of giving its audience their ten (or more like twenty) bucks worth. On that score, hot damn does this succeed!
Of course, the deliberately campy approach may be a turn off to some, but if you dug the similar PIRAHNA 3D, this is the flick for you. For me, I knew damn well I’d love this flick once I got my first gander of Amber Heard, decked out in the skimpiest, sexiest Daisy Duke’s you can imagine, hopping behind the wheel of her equally sexy ’69 Charger, while singing Peaches’ “F**k The Pain Away”. Mmm-hmm.
The awesomeness continues from there folks, with Nicolas Cage finally having some fun again, as the bleached-blond mullet wearing Milton (‘Paradise Lost’ anyone?). Cage is probably the most engaged he’s been since BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS and one can see why. DRIVE ANGRY’s a pretty tough film to hate. The premise for the flick tells you pretty much all you need to know about it. This is not a film for subtlety or subtext, but really- who cares? Sometime all you want to see is some R-rated fun where baddies get wasted by the hundreds, dozens of cars are wreaked, and all the while Amber Heard lounges around looking delicious.
Other than being particularly sexy throughout, Heard’s spunk really won me over, once again proving that she’s got more star-power in her pinky that most other “it girls” that have come along in the last few years. Heard’s a rare breed; an actress that will make your jaw hit the floor with her good looks, and can act to boot!
I should also mention that DRIVE ANGRY has a scene mid-way through that’s going to become a grind house classic. But what, pray tell, does it entail? Well folks, get ready for the finest shoot-out/ sex scene since SHOOT EM’ UP, with Nicolas Cage blowing away a dozen baddies, mid-coitus with a sexy waitress, with simultaneous smoking a stogie, and pausing for the occasional swig of Jack Daniels. All shot in slow motion, of course. Can I get a f**k yeah?
Damn this is a fun flick, and I’ve got to hand it to Lussier and Farmer (who even gets a part as Heard’s jerk boyfriend), with the two of them absolutely nailing the kind of flick John Carpenter used to churn out in his hey-day, with this feeling like a cross between BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA and THEY LIVE, with some PRINCE OF DARKNESS thrown in for good measure. Hell, we even get Tom Atkins (yes- TOM ATKINS!!!!) as a good-ol’ boy Southern Sherriff!
Meanwhile, we also get a scene-stealing performance by William Fichtner, who all but walks away with the film as “The Accountant”. I don’t want to spoil too much about how Fichtner’s role plays out, but suffice to say, he’s your run of the mill baddie. If I have one complaint about DRIVE ANGRY, it’s that Billy Burke’s Jonah King comes across as a pretty weak villain at least compared to Fichtner. Once he goes mano-a-mano with Cage, you’ll never for a second believe he’s any threat to Cage’s undead bad-ass.
Another thing that Lussier really manages to ace here is the use of 3D, which for once is not a cheap-ass post conversion job, and is used creatively, and not obnoxiously. That’s right folks- DRIVE ANGRY is the rare 3D flick that won’t give you a headache, and will actually allow you to discern what’s happening onscreen. That said, I still think DRIVE ANGRY would be just as much fun without the 3D, which bodes well for its eventual Blu-Ray/ DVD release.
Suffice to say, DRIVE ANGRY 3D rocked my world, although I’ll admit that having a few drinks beforehand might have helped things along a bit. This is a beer (or better yet, Nic Cage approved Jack Daniels) swiggin’ movie if ever there was one. Considering the rather weak slate of films we’ve been bombarded with at the multiplexes lately, DRIVE ANGRY is a real treat, just as long as you go in with the right attitude. This is not something to take seriously, and while that may keep it from transcending its pulpy-roots somewhat, it sure as hell guarantees a good time at the movies. In an era of escalating ticket prices, that’s something you can’t just dismiss, and kudos to Lussier for a job well done. As for Mr. Cage, welcome back sir. We missed you.