Drive Angry gives me a few good reasons I shouldn’t shoot it in the face

Drive Angry – 2011

Directed by Patrick Lussier

Starring Nicolas Cage, Amber Heard, William Fichtner, Katy Mixon, David Morse, Billy Burke, Tom Atkins

Written by Lussier and Todd Farmer

This film is bad in the most glorious way possible.  It is offensive, crude, dumb, overly violent and wholly unbelievable.  What else can one expect, though, when dealing with a plot that is part Bat Out of Hell part Wicker Man and part Not Without My Daughter.  There is not much redeeming value to Drive Angry, but there is plenty to recommend it to those who’ve seen Nic Cage at his worst.  Not his Bangkok Dangerous worst, rather his “put the bunny back in the box” worst.

Guess who gets slapped around?

Filmed in real 3D, there are tons of gratuitous shots of things flying at the camera, watching them in my preference 2D, I can understand the difference between these unnecessary, but effective images and the ones you get in trash like Green Hornet.  The scenes are bad, intentionally so, and somehow, it makes them better.  There is a point, when you have nothing, where you go for broke.  There was not a lot of money to throw around, and instead of trying to hide it, they glorified in it, to great effect.

The script, equally bad in the same playful way.  Don’t get me wrong, there are some great lines in the film, and the plot is quite free of pre-screened re-writes.  It has the feel

No time for love, hell is calling

of something quick and organic.  The best thing about the film is its reckless disregard for all but a few humans.  People die good and ugly here.  Big weapons and small have a similar deleterious effect on its targets.  No one, not even the stars, are spared.  Good times.

Speaking of stars, Nic Cage is the only one who could pull this type of movie off.  He has made it his mission to dilute his acting talent for his entire career.  This is one of the more significant notches in a belt that can only be compared to something Tammy Faye would wear.  He takes this acting belt and under emotes, over dramaticizes, drawls his way into the sub-cockles of our hearts.

Here's a dollar for your thoughts.

That said, his performance would have been incomplete were it not for Fichtner.  As The Accountant, his job is to account for Cage, and bring him back.  He walks through the film completely aware of the absurdities he is encountering and creating, and it is obvious he relishes every minute of it.  I have enjoyed Fichtner in many films, but none so much as this.

Amber Heard I am not so familiar with.  She kicks a lot of butt in this film, being unrepentant all the while.  Some of the scenes in the film come off as quite sexist, until you realize that she is the great equalizer.  The script has a great sense of fairness.  Guys are allowed to appeal to their baser instincts for the moment, and then they die a grisly death.  Good enough for me.

Billy Burke is does a half-way decent job as the lead bad guy, but it is a thankless role, if only because you know he is due to get his comeuppance in the worst way.

The rest of the cast is sprinkled with B-talent.  I spent much of the film looking them up on just to figure out where I’d seen them before.

This movie will not be forgotten any time soon.  I may even indulge myself and watch it on 3D.

(***0ut of *****)


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