I didn’t want to like this movie, the title alone made to cringe. But within the first five minutes, after Cage shoots off a guys hand and it comes flying at you in 3-D, I was hooked.
“Drive Angry” is about Milton (Cage), a man with a troubled past. Through flashbacks we learn that his daughter belonged to some kind of Satan worshiping cult and when she tried to get out, it’s leader, Jonah King (“Twilight‘s” Billy Burke), kills her and takes her baby. Milton has to get his grandchild back before Jonah can offer the child as a human sacrifice to Satan.
He enlists the help of Piper (Amber Heard), a tough-talking, hard-hitting, don’t-take-no-crap-from-nobody waitress, and her ’69 Dodge Charger to get him from Colorado to Louisiana in time. The only thing standing in Milton’s way is a mysterious guy (William Fichtner) known only as “The Accountant” who is looking for Milton to so he can take him back to hell.
Did I forget to mention that part, my bad.
Milton is dead and escaped hell to rescue his granddaughter. “The Accountant” is Satan’s accountant, he’s accounts for the souls in hell. And the funny part is that Milton is trying to save the baby from a bunch of crazies that want to sacrifice her to Satan. Awesome, right?
This movie is an unapologetic grindhouse flick. It is all about the gore and violence in an over-the-top cheesy and campy way. It even comes complete with lines like, “I’ll have a beer … when I can drink it from Jonah King’s skull.” It was crap-tastic.
In a review for the Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert described it best as “an exercise in deliberate vulgarity, gross excess, and the pornography of violence, not to forget garden variety pornography.” And he means that in a good way.
“Drive Angry” was great for lots of reasons. Besides the ridiculously great storyline, another reason is casting. Nicolas Cage has become a walking punchline recently, with his incessant need to accept every single role he’s offered with bothering to do something as mundane as … oh, I don’t know … reading the script.
Here you get the sense that he’s in on the joke. Cage is well aware of what kind of movie this is and is just going with it. You feel like you’re laughing with him, not at him.
The rest of the cast was surprisingly fun to watch too. Amber Heard is really engaging as Cage’s sidekick. Unlike most women in exploitation films, she’s strong, independent, and given a chance to kick some serious ass. I didn’t except Billy Burke to be so good and being so evil.
Plus, William Fitchner is in it. You probably don’t recognize the name, but he’s one of those great character actors that when you see him you go, “Oh yeah, that guy.” With his dry delivery, Fitchner steals every scene he’s in with minimal effort.
With all its gratuitous violence and bloodshed I was an instant fan. To be honest, one look at Cage’s long peroxided locks sent me rolling in the aisles. There are cartoonish special effects and fights unnecessarily shot in slo-mo so you don’t miss one second of the carnage.
I haven’t laughed so hard at a movie in a long time.
Similar to 2010’s “Machete” and “Piranha,” “Drive Angry” is a guilty pleasure that you know you shouldn’t find as enjoyable as you do. It’s one of those movies that you hate yourself for liking so much. Elizabeth Weitzman of the called it “[a film] so committed to its own junkiness that it is, in its way, a pleasure to behold.”
You can call it trashy, and vulgar, and crass, but you can’t say it isn’t fun.
- Five Reasons You Need To See ‘Drive Angry’ (moviesblog.mtv.com)
- A Filmography of Nicolas Cage’s Hair (losangelestimes.com)
- 5 most memorable Nicolas Cage performances (ctv.ca)