Main cast: Nicolas Cage (John Milton), Amber Heard (Piper), David Morse (Webster), Billy Burke (Jonah King), and William Fichtner (The Accountant)
Director: Patrick Lussier
Drive Angry is a movie with Nicolas Cage, so of course it is not going to be mistaken as high art anytime soon. In fact, as it is with pretty much every movie featuring Mr Cage since that Oscar for Best Actor turned him crazy in 1995, the crux of the matter here is how much this movie doesn’t suck. Fortunately for me, this one doesn’t suck that bad. It’s based on a comic from Vertigo, if I’m not mistaken, but don’t quote me on this.
John Milton is dead, but that doesn’t stop him from escaping Hell in a 1963 Buick Riviera and some really mean guns. He seeks to avenge his daughter, who was killed by the cult led by Jonah King (Bella Swan’s father, who has found a new hobby after his daughter shacked up with a sparkling vampire and became a national punchline). Jonah has John’s baby granddaughter, whom Jonah plans to sacrifice in order to bring the Devil into this world for some fun and mayhem. Not if John has anything to say about this, of course. Along the way, he picks up a waitress, Piper, whose day is already down the drain after she caught her boyfriend cheating on her, and it’s only going to get worse, heh. Don’t worry, there is no icky romance here, which is a good thing as the beauty gap between Mr Cage and Amber Heard is indeed wide. On John’s trail the Accountant, who is charged to ensure that the AWOL soul is dragged back to Hell ASAP.
Nicolas Cage is… well, Nicolas Cage. The scowl, the sad puppy eyes, the uncanny resemblance to the homeless guy who tried to mug you a while back… Nicolas Cage, ladies and gentlemen. But he’s adequate here as the silent hero with the mother of all road rage, blasting off limbs and heads with a serious scowl on his face. Amber Heard is perky and likable in her underwritten one-note role as the female sidekick, and David Morse is pleased to get a paycheck for his rather small role as John’s old buddy. It is William Fichtner who steals every scene he is in as the ruthless and amusingly sadistic accountant from hell, while Billy Burke manages to channel as appropriately menacing vibe for his role as the modern day prophet of the devil. It’s hard to forget Mr Burke as Bella Swan’s daddy, however.
Drive Angry embraces the trashiness associated with stereotypical tacky Southern trailer park goodness – guns, religious zealotry gone haywire, fried food, and more – and its unabashed celebration of brainless violence and gore can be most arresting. This movie doesn’t aim to be anything better than a big dumb action movie with lots of hot cars, an occasional flash of female nudity, and plenty of violence ad gore, and by setting its bar low, it manages to be a trashy entertaining flick indeed.
The movie slowly loses its momentum as it progresses into its last forty minutes or so, however, as the chase scenes become tediously long-drawn and the villains just keep coming like demon-possessed Energizer bunnies.
But, hey, if you set the bar low and watch this one with an open mind, who knows, you may be pleasantly surprised by how entertaining this one can be.