"Drive Angry" - 2011
Dir. by Patrick Lussier - 1 hr. 44 min.
When I saw the trailer for "Drive Angry," I was hoping that it was actually the trailer for "Ghost Rider 2." No such luck, though. I have a sneaking suspicion that GR2 will have a hard time being as entertaining as DA was.
I'm not going to tell you that "Drive Angry" is a good movie, by any stretch of the imagination. Most of it's appeal comes from the fact that it doesn't aspire to that at all, and that the filmmakers are willing to stretch it's R rating to the breaking point. Here's what you're guaranteed (and what you'll actually get, as well); a parade of muscle cars, multiple shoot-outs, things blowing up, blatant nudity, devil-worshipers, and Nicolas Cage going full-on nutso as only he can. Here's two things I wasn't expecting: William Fichtner going toe-to-toe with Cage's weirdness in his "The Accountant" character, and Billy Burke's "Jonah King" tearing things up as the head of a cult. It takes a certain kind of actor to be able to pull off using a femur bone as a walking stick while strutting around in leather pants and a red satin shirt, unbuttoned to your navel, and Burke is just that man. By contrast, The Accountant is a sharp-dressed man, sent to retrieve Cage's John Milton (who has escaped from Hell to right a wrong). I could watch an entire movie devoted just to The Accountant.
One note about the the 3D/2D stuff - I still haven't seen any movie in 3D. The signature shot of these movies seem to be the "stuff flying at the camera" shot. I'm starting to get a little tired of that (it feels like blatant pandering), and "Drive Angry" seemed to lean more heavily on that gimmicky shot than other movies I've seen. I don't hold it against the movie, since it's not "Citizen Kane" to begin with, but I think that it's going to be one of those visual tics that absolutely pegs when the film was made (like when you hear a DJ scratching on a rock song - that means it was made between 1997 and 1999 nearly without exception). Here's hoping that filmmakers in general get over this gimmick shot and learn to use the technology with a little more subtlety.
When I rate a movie, I use 3/5 as the point where I'd re-watch something. Below that, and I'd generally not want to watch something again. But the dilemma here is that this certainly wasn't a good movie, but I'd totally watch it again. Maybe part of that is having just seen "Sucker Punch," and you know you're in rough shape when your movie makes "Drive Angry" look good, but DA came off like a character-driven indie movie in comparison. Even giving your characters basic motivations for their actions makes such a difference in action-oriented material.
2.5 / 5 - Theatre (2D)