Posted on 2/25/11 08:57 PM
Drive Angry is one of these technically not great yet somehow still enjoyable films. Action, fast cars, girls, gun battles and explosions are present throughout in this visually jam-packed film (and it's all in 3D). The film won't win any Oscars but as long as you are in the mood for some simple entertainment and don't mind the gore then you should be fine. The film revolves around Nicholas Cage's character Milton as he tries to avenge the death of his daughter, on the way he picks up Piper (Amber Heard), a fiery waitress who is searching for some purpose in her life. The film is literally car crash cinema at times, as the narrative moves from one ludicrous set piece to another. Here the film has to walk a tight rope between the categories of crazy yet still entertaining and just plain absurd nonsense. Overall, the narrative just manages to stay in the former category as long as you're willing to accept some of the more silly bits. The crazy narrative is aided by some fairly solid acting from the cast and some reasonable special effects.
Nicholas Cage is a great actor and undoubtedly his presence makes Drive Angry a better film. His calm intensity mixed with a hint of the psychotic is reminiscent of a few films from his back catalogue. A highlight for me was the moment when he decides not to throw away the skull, instead holding on to it as a souvenir adding to the gory dark comedy of the film. William Fichtner also delivers a fine performance as the suave character known only as 'The Accountant'. Is it just me, or is he very similar to Christopher Walken? Are they related is or is it just chance? I've generally only seen him in small but memorable roles like the bank manager in the Dark Knight (2008) but he looks like he'd be worth a shot at some more leading roles. Amber Heard's character Piper, Milton's partner in crime also adds some colour to the screen balance out the darker character of Milton. Some film geeks might also recognise Tom Atkins from films such as Escape From New York (1981), Hallowe'en III (1983) an Lethal Weapon (1987) as the sheriff.
Drive Angry's special effects quality varies at times but seems to succeed more times than it fails; I even saw a couple people in the audience flinch as shrapnel appears to hurtle towards the screen. One criticism of 3D is the money it adds to the price of a ticket; all too often the 3D in movies, seems to almost be pointless or only added in as an after thought. Drive Angry generally avoids falling into this category; with the car chases and bullets flying everywhere this is the type of film you want to see in 3D. So is this a classic?
The answer is probably not but then again, it's not a disaster either. While the film succeeds on slightly more levels than it fails, I would recommend seeing it on a two for one cinema ticket night if you can; as nearly twenty pounds for two 3D tickets seems a bit too much. I'm not sure whether to give this film a 5 or 6 out of 10 as while the film was enjoyable it was certainly flawed. I think the film makers are hoping that Drive Angry will gain cult status like movies such as The Evil Dead (1981) but only time will tell whether this will happen.