John Milton is up against the clock: Jonah King, the leader of a Satanic cult, has murdered Milton's daughter and kidnapped her baby. In three days, King and his followers will sacrifice the child at midnight. Milton picks up the trail in Oklahoma as well as rescuing a waitress named Piper from her brutal, two-timing fiancé. There are odd things about Milton: his driver's license is out of date, he has a very strange gun, and he's being pursued by a man in a suit who carries FBI ID and calls himself the Accountant. Piper, who's lived a life on the sidelines, has to piece things together on the fly as they close in on King. Written by
The name of Milton's friend, Webster, could be derived from the short story "The Devil and Daniel Webster." In the story, Webster is hired to defend someone against the devil. See more »
First time that Milton enters Piper's car he gets in to the passenger seat with the window up. When they show the interior shot of the car, the passenger window is down. See more »
Since the birth of time, humanity has endeavored to restrain evil men in prisons. But since Cain fled the murder of his brother, evil men have fled the walls of punishment. So, it doesn't matter if you're a bad-ass motherfucker on the run, because you think you're better than everyone else, and somehow entitled to do what you gotta do. No. Because you see bad-ass motherfuckers are never fast enough. In the end, they will all be accounted for.
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The end credits are shown down a speeding broken highway See more »
A serviceable pure exploitation flick with mediocre execution
A small but existent segment of the American population believes that any and all combinations of cars, guns and naked women make for the perfect care-free cinematic cocktail. But like any cocktail, there's a perfect blend required, not simply throwing them in a blend-er. Behold the difference between the "Fast and Furious" franchise and "Drive Angry." The former, for example, understands that women make the cars more beautiful, whereas Patrick Lussier, writer and director of "Drive Angry," believes that they go together because they're two things men like.
"Drive Angry" is not the awful kind of schlocky grindhouse flick, but it's completely hollow filmmaking. Shot in 3D, when you watch the film in the "inferior" two dimensions, you can tell the film was meant to be watched in 3D the way bullets and shrapnel come toward the camera. Fans of the 3-D medium who despise converted 3D will rejoice at the director's intention to use it, but this intention serves nothing more than the purpose of gimmick. In other words, cars, guns, naked women and 3D.
Who better for the driver seat than Nicolas Cage? Sporting yet another hairstyle, Cage gets to play angry stoic man escaped from hell. Vengeance, of course, lies at the heart of any reputable exploitation flick, so at least Lussier and writing partner Todd Farmer understand their genre. The execution, however, comes off as amateur, especially in an age with folks such as Robert Rodriguez pulling off the genre in a modern era with more success and humor especially.
Creativity for "Drive Angry" comes in the form of Cage's Milton shooting down several religious fanatics trying to kill him with farming tools all while maintaining sexual intercourse with the waitress from the bar next door. That could be chalked up to a genre signature, but it doesn't serve any other purpose in the film. Usually the nudity or sex tells us something about the lone wolf lead character or adds to his mystique, but it really doesn't in this case. Milton's motivation is to get back his baby granddaughter from a Satanist cult that intends to sacrifice her. Having escaped from hell to do so and with Satan's "accountant" (William Fichtner) on his tail, his actions should be pretty clear-cut. After all, he doesn't even fall for the young blonde he's picked up for the ride (Amber Heard).
Heard represents that kick-ass feminist force in the male-centric exploitation flick. Piper vice grips her boss's balls when he puts his hands on her at work and then promptly quits, goes home early in her '69 Charger with "I Break for Pussy" on the bumper and finds another woman on top of her fiancé. I won't spoil what happens after, but this spirit creates the bond between her and Milton as well as a troubled past relationship between Milton and his daughter for which Piper provides a second chance. Heard will one day be too A-list and above this material, so she's refreshing in the role.
Fichtner, who plays the devil's right hand of sorts, also brings a fun performance to the film. He's not one of those typical self-assured villains in spite of his other-worldly abilities, but he possesses the same malice. The slightest sense of humility makes him a memorable character despite the cliché role. Billy Burke as Jonah King, the Satanist who fancies himself better than everyone else, goes a bit more over-the-top, but also makes an effective villain.
The action of "Drive Angry," though much more about guns and gore than cars, satisfies for the most part except when it kowtows to the 3D. For those not watching with special glasses, that sort of zaps you out of the story.
"Drive Angry" ends up being everything you'd expect it to be, provided you expected a 3-D camp-fest manufactured in a petri dish. There's definitely a place for those kinds of films, but the distinguishing factor between good and bad exploitation lies in disguising the man behind the curtain, the puppeteer or whatever force putting that product together merely to entertain at the surface level. "Drive Angry" entertains, but the failure to conceal prevents any investment into the story or characters.
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