Drive Angry (2011)

Drive Angry (2011) – The following review first appeared as part of a larger article (“Now in Theaters”) on on 11 March 2011.

While crappy movies always make you forget, it is still true that making films is an art. This new wave of a 3D has been written off as a trendy gimmick by some, but to be truthful it’s just another tool in the artist’s toolbox. How you use it demonstrates your philosophy as a film-maker. In Up, Pete Docter used the depth of the image to compress Carl’s world into a confined area and then open the world up once the action shifts to South America. By contrast, in the 2009 remake of My Blood Valentine Patrick Lussier used it to throw a man’s severed jawbone at the audience. So it’s really all in how you use it. Well Drive Angry is directed by Patrick Lussier so do you want to take a guess which approach is used? Nicolas Cage, of all people, plays a guy named John Milton (subtle) who has been dead for a while but gets so damn mad that he busts out of hell to take revenge on the Satanic cultists who killed his daughter and kidnapped his baby-granddaughter, for the purpose of infant sacrifice. Why don’t those Satanists ever play nice? With the help of a hot chick (Amber Heard) he goes out to get his vengeance, all the while being chased by “the Accountant” (a badass William Fichtner) trying to bring him back to hell. What is it with this trend of taking a violent job (hit man, grim reaper, God) and giving it a mundane name (mechanic, accountant, chairman)? Is anyone else bugged by this? Whatever… Anyway, Fincher’s awesome. Not so awesome? Cage. Cage can work for me sometimes like in Kick-Ass or Face/Off, but here he just seems a bad fit. I majorly dig the sort of grindhouse vibe this movie is going for but it mostly just reminded of better movies (Grindhouse, for instance). “So bad it’s good” is a very tricky mark to hit and while I enjoyed Drive Angry it bears noting that the 3D bumps the ticket price up several dollars. It’s dumb fun but you can see better movies for less money.

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