Drive Angry 3D, 2011.
Directed by Patrick Lussier.
Starring Nicolas Cage, Amber Heard, William Fichtner, Billy Burke, David More, Todd Farmer and Christa Campbell.
Milton (Nicolas Cage) breaks out of hell to rescue his baby granddaughter who has been abducted by the cult who also killed his daughter. However Satan's assistant - The Accountant (William Fichtner) is in hot pursuit as time is running out!
Like the Crank films before it, Drive Angry aims straight for its target audience – trash loving (mostly) males who happily subscribe to the 'so bad it's bloody brilliant' mantra. “Nicolas Cage overacting and blowing stuff up? Sold! It's in 3D? Even better!”
So it's no surprise then that Drive Angry has it's tongue wedged firmly in it's cheek. A gleefully absurd plot (Cage escapes from Hell! In a sports car!), Nicolas Cage embracing his cheesy side with reckless abandon and enough one liners and cheesy retorts to give Schwarzenegger a hard-on (“I thought you were dead!” “You wished I was dead.”). Cage is on outstandingly silly form, savouring his dialogue and playing it straight in the face of sheer lunacy. Equally brilliant is William Fichtner as 'The Accountant', Satan's employee tasked with returning Cage to hell, played as a quirky, smooth-talking, twitchy opponent, Fichtner clearly relishing such an over-the-top role.
But the film doesn't just rely on the (over)acting for it's laughs, equal effort has been put into individual set-pieces, with the slow-motion sex-scene shoot-out(!) truly standing out. Cage's line “I never disrobe before a gunfight” preludes one the silliest scenes outside of straight-up spoof cinema in years. Without spoiling the scene too much, it's hilariously dumb and not the least bit ashamed of itself.
Also of special note is how well the 3D is utilised. One genre 3D really lends itself to is schlocky horror, which director Patrick Lussier knows all about, having previously helmed the surprisingly enjoyable My Bloody Valentine remake. What makes horror scarier? (Or at least more entertaining?) When it leaps out of the screen at you. So when making a supernatural action comedy with bullets flying everywhere and explosions left, right and centre, 3D is a wise move, adding that instinctual 'ducking' from 3D bullets flying at your face into an already crowd-pleasing formula.
For all it's unabashed silliness, Drive Angry does have its flaws though. The plot involving the cult which murder Cage's daughter and kidnap her child tends to get a bit convoluted, not helped by a rather flat performance from Billy Burke as cult leader Jonah King, somewhat adrift in a film dominated by Cage and Fichtner. Also Amber Heard's character Piper, portrayed as being a strong, ass-kicking woman, is derailed by the film's rather clumsy attempt at feminism and Piper unfortunately ends up being just standard-fare eye-candy. A later scene featuring Cage's old friend (played by David Morse), intended to provide backstory, feels utterly tacked on and succeeds only in slowing the pace of the otherwise breakneck third act.
Overall though, Drive Angry ticks all the right boxes and provides a wilfully ludicrous spectacle, genuinely benefiting from the 3D and delighting in it's glorious daftness. Spot-on turns from Cage and Fichtner really make the film, one that is knowingly ridiculous and all the better for it.
Drive Angry is released in UK cinemas tomorrow.
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