Directed by: Patrick Lussier Cast: Nicolas Cage, Amber Heard, William Fichtner Running Time: 1 hr 44 mins Rating: R Due Out: May 31, 2011
PLOT: A vengeful father (Cage) escapes from hell and chases after the men who killed his daughter and kidnapped his granddaughter.
WHO'S IT FOR? Fans of Grindhouse cinema, fans of mindless tales of vengeance, and the few remaining fans of Nicolas Cage.
MOVIE: I am a fan of Nicolas Cage, still. Even after Ghost Rider and Season of the Witch. He's certainly rattled off some pretty poor films, as of late, but he's also had a few gems here and there (loved The Bad Lieutenant and Bangkok Dangerous), and the base of his career pyramid is strong enough so that, at least in my eyes, he can do no wrong. I've been pretty committed to following his career and though Drive Angry is certainly not his best film, it is also certainly not his worst.
The general premise (see plot details above) is not one that affords director Patrick Lussier any room to take the whole enterprise overly seriously. Lussier has obviously had a lot of fun with it, in the same way I'd say Robert Rodriguez did with Machete.
Drive Angry is cranked up entirely over-the-top, and it knows it. For example, Cage's character at one point guns down half a dozen men in a hotel-room brawl, all the while remaining magically inside his one-night-stand -- and no, he's not just lying on the bed the whole time. It's outrageous, but it's self-aware enough (in a good way) so as to be oddly enjoyable (at times). All in all, this film was entertaining, and it held my interest up until the very end, though at least one of my eyebrows was arched skyward for the duration.
The supporting cast was pretty entertaining. William Fichtner's portrayal of the demon in charge of bringing Cage's character back into the bowels of hell, was well done and pretty funny at times. Amber Heard looked gorgeous from every angle -- if you like that Daisy Duke type -- she's just yummy, and she made it a hundred times easier to digest Drive Angry. Her acting was up to snuff too, not bad, not bad. The rest of the cast was just machine-gun fodder, but they all did their jobs well enough, I suppose.
All nice comments aside, I would not say this is a good film -- It's dumb, loud, crass, violent, and dark to a silly degree. Yes, "silly" is the word that keeps coming to mind here. But then, I suppose it is Grindhouse, so there you have it.
MOVIE SCORE: 5/10
Access: Drive Angry –- activate dynamic "scene specific" features including interviews with cast and filmmakers, track the body count in Milton's Mayhem, and more. Audio Commentary with Filmmakers Patrick Lussier and Todd Farmer. Deleted Scenes with Filmmaker Commentary.