Sunday, March 6, 2011

Drive Angry 3D

The story is out there and I don't think the previews have really explained much, which is why the movie has pretty much tanked at the box office. Nic Cage plays John Milton (the name is not random, by the way) a soul escaped from Hell to avenge his daughter's death and save his grandchild from being sacrificed at the hands of a Satanic cult to bring Hell to earth. Milton is joined on his quest by Piper (Amber Heard), a girl who can kick ass with the best of them – she also has a pretty sweet ride taken from her abusive ex-boyfriend (played by screenwriter Todd Farmer, who loves to write himself into his movies as the naked guy). Milton is being followed by The Accountant (William Fichtner), who is responsible for returning escaped souls to Hell.

The movie features some totally outlandish action scenes, such as when Milton is besieged by a dozen of cult leader Jonah King's men while copulating with a waitress the entire time, Farmer's patented dialog and utilizes the 3D process to throw everything from bullets to car parts to body parts at the audience. Now that is what 3D is for! The film itself is a terrific homage to the 70s car exploitation films (if you liked Tarantino's Death Proof, you should enjoy this) and really has the feel of a film of that era. If there is one thing Farmer and director Patrick Lussier do well it's give their films the correct look and feel of the era they're paying homage to. I loved their remake of My Bloody Valentine because it was a straightforward remake that improved on the 1981 original, yet still had the feel of a film made in 1981.

I don't know what's kept audiences away in droves from this movie, but I fear we've grown tired of one bad Nic Cage movie after another. Drive Angry, however, suits his style perfectly because Cage doesn't necessarily have to act as much as react but he does deliver Farmer's dialog perfectly. I loved Amber Heard's character because she's a tough girlie-girl who can take a few punches to the face but never, ever has a hair out of place, dirt on her clothes or a smudge to her makeup. At one point I was looking at her and thinking how pretty she is then I realized she'd just been in a big fight with another character and came out of it looking perfect. Billy Burke's Jonah King is properly menacing as he gives the cult leader a sinister Southern drawl, and David Morse shows up as a (living) friend of Milton's named Webster (and I confirmed with Farmer that his first name, though never mentioned, is Daniel – again, no accident) but best of all is William Fichtner as The Accountant. He gets to play the role totally deadpan, but he also gets all of the best lines (which are even funnier when delivered with the utmost sincerity) and one of the best moments as he exits a moving truck onto the hood of a moving car. Drive Angry may not be everyone's cup of tea, but if you can appreciate the filmmakers' intention and have a fondness for the cheeseball exploitation films of the 70s, then this is one ride you should not miss.

Drive Angry 3D is rated R for strong brutal violence throughout, grisly images, some graphic sexual content, nudity and pervasive language.

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