Drive Angry in 3-D
Drive Angry opens with a pretty impressive image of a bad-ass 70’s era American hard body automobile driving out of some sort of fiery apocalyptic mountain range like a bat out of hell. Silent but deadly, it accelerates across the bridge to infinity towards destinations unknown. A foreboding monologue then informs us: “all bad ass motherfuckers will be accounted for.” Duly noted.
Cut to Laughter, Colorado, the backwater burg that hosts this action flick that already feels like an episode of Dukes of Hazzard on crack. Nicolas Cage plays John Milton, the scenery-chewing, drawling, greasy, dirty blonde haired and grimy goateed drifter type of hero. He’s one man, on one mission. He may be more than a man, actually, but that’s yet to be discovered. Subliminal hints are given along the way, but never enough to make us suspend belief in this unbelievable film.The premise of Drive Angry is established when the same car that was barreling out of hell is chasing down a truck of slack jawed yokels with shotguns, with Cage’s character Milton intent on capturing his targets, no matter the cost. A few insane driving sequences and maneuvers later, the truck is upside down, limbs have been blown off (dismembered body parts fly into your face in 3-D, a nice touch), and the basic plot structure is set: Milton’s daughter was caught up in a Satanic cult where she was killed, and the leader has kidnapped Milton’s only granddaughter, who is also the sacrificial lamb meant to usher in some new age of demonic darkness on earth. Fantastic. The cold carnage of this opening scene in Drive Angry had me laughing hysterically while cringing in agony, yet still eager to go wherever this guilty pleasure of a movie wants to take me. And boy, does it take your expectations some insane places.
Three-quarters of Drive Angry involves Milton in pursuit of cult leader Jonah Hill, played in suitable sleazy, creepy fashion by Billy Burke, in a Dodge Charger possessing the license plate “Drive Angry”, but is that reason enough to give the movie this title? Not really, but when you see the movie go out of its way to deliver a fist fight between Amber Heard and a busty naked woman who just slept with Heard’s boyfriend, you accept that human logic has no place in your mind as long as the movie infests your conscious faculties with all of the awesomely ungodly shit it seeks to send flying in your face at breakneck speed. Heard plays Piper, a woman with no discernible future, who agrees to join Milton and lend him her car as he goes on a murderous mission to save his granddaughter from being sacrificed during the full moon/Apocalypse occurring in three days. Besides the Dodge Charger, a few other hard body muscle cars are orgasmically worshipped, as well as other various phallic devices and lowest common denominator concepts. The 3-D camera fetishized its images in every imaginable angle of observation: slow motion, zoom lens, first person perspective, mirror reflections… how many ways do you want to watch every archetype of death, sex, guns, manhood, nudity, religion and destruction get glorified? Drive Angry is direct bastardized descendant of some disco-era Grindhouse pulp fiction, but it graciously avoids all attempts at Quentin Tarantino-inspired annoying inside joke irony or ham-fisted homage. It just goes for your vital organs whenever it wants and pummels them into submission, right after you get forcibly kissed by a stranger’s mouth that just drank a cup of hot black coffee. This actually happens in ‘Drive Angry in 3-D’.
Now let it be known: William Fichtner officially deserves his own offshoot franchise as The Accountant, ostensibly playing the right hand of Satan himself. Hunting down Milton for escaping from Hell is his mission, and every single second he is on screen, his gleeful godly slaughter of every possible obstacle is unconscionable phenomenal. This viciously silly villain delivers what will be one of 2011’s screen highlights. How can you not love a bad guy who introduces himself into the movie saying: “You fat fuck, come here!” Playing his supernaturally Satanic righteous slyness with bubbling subtlety, he stalks Milton like a T-2000 liquid Terminator on five hits of MDMA. This is a man who loves his job. The 3-D effect of him breaking a baseball bat off into a man’s shoulder and pinning him up on a wall five feet off the ground (and the subsequent scene) is something I will not forget anytime soon. Add this bit of ridiculous dialogue and you know why this 50 million dollar movie is already going somewhat unjustly appreciated:
Captain: “No God damn way! No f-in’ lovin’ way in God’s good heaven, are you an FBI agent!”
The Accountant: “I need you boys to stand down. Captain, you know what this badge means, right? Federal Bureau of GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY WAY!”
Or how about when Milton goes to the Bull By the Balls bar (complete with appropriate neon sign) and someone says to him “I thought you were dead!” and Cage deadpans in Oscar-winning fashion: “No, you HOPED I was dead. Not the same.”
Consider yourself officially informed: arguably THE MOST INSANE SEX SCENE OF ALL TIME is featured in “Drive Angry”. Let me not ruin the surprise for you, but I’ll share that a tazer jolt doubles as a vibrator for a sex worker, and just because six men are trying to kill you doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get your money’s worth, right? Right.
Personally, my favorite line in Drive Angry might be when Jonah Hill threatens: “It would be easy to shoot you in the throat and watch you gurgle as I eat my morning grapefruit”, but they make it really hard to choose just one. You will think that Nicolas Cage is possessed by the spirit of Keanu “Whoa.” Reeves when, after taking a gunshot to the eye at point blank range, he whispers “It’s still in there… the bullet. I can feel it.” Jaw-dropping.
“Drive Angry in 3-D” plays down the heaven/hell dimensions of John Milton and The Accountant thankfully, and lets its real ambitions shine: absolute carnage at all costs. And it delivers almost anything a maniacal moviegoer could want. Shame about the unnecessary driving scenes padding together what is supposed to be a rollercoaster-like ride through hell in a muscle car hand basket. Director Patrick Lussier did an absolutely admirable job of finding just the right balance of nihilistic nonsense and solid cinematic content to give the watcher nothing less than a good time at the movies, if you’re not offended by a movie full of characters that say things like “Two days without sex? That’s a decade in horny fucker years!”
Six other reasons to go see Drive Angry immediately after you finish reading this review:
-A two foot long handgun called “The God Killer” with bullets that operate reminiscent of the Ghostbusters.
-“Messing with powers they ought not to, turns my shit white.”
-The Accountant singing merrily as he drives a truck full of liquid nitrogen towards a roadblock of blood-thirsty policemen.
-“Satan, he’s a quiet man. Thoughtful, well read. He’s actually more like the warden of a prison.”
-The Accountant, bursting out with Hannibal Lecter-level glee, uttering: “WHOA! THOSE are fucked!” as he looks at a Satanic henchman with his kneecaps blown to smithereens… then STABS the open knee gunshot wound.
-and only Nicolas Cage would drink a victory beer in the decapitated remains of a Satan worshipper. Anything less would be uncivilized.
“Drive Angry in 3-D” is a must-see. If you don’t walk out in the first half hour, you will shamefully enjoy it forever.
Watch the Drive Angry trailer from YouTube: