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Drive Angry

Posted: Sun Feb 27, 2011 7:40 pm
by Remo D
Well, this one came as a surprise--I was interested in seeing it as one of the rare REAL 3-D movies (as opposed to a wearisome conversion job) coming out, and it certainly promised to do its best to be an outrageous piece of envelope pushing, but I had NO idea until the day before it opened that it was a supernatural thriller of any description. Even if the TV ads hadn't finally given up the "ghost" just before opening day, I was treated to a blistering review from our local feminist film critic, who was appalled by the stereotypical "badass" men and the rampant sexism served up by the film... of course, she had said the same thing about THE MECHANIC, and she had said the same thing about SCOTT PILGRIM VS. THE WORLD... in short, she says the same thing about pretty much EVERY action/horror film (even though she apparently makes a point of patronizing them).

A film like DRIVE ANGRY scarcely requires any form of "defense," of course--you KNOW what it's there to serve up, and you ought to know in advance whether or not you would be likely to enjoy such a spectacle.

So. The movie. The ubiquitous Nicolas Cage is on a tear as "John Milton" (get it?)... a satanic cult has murdered his daughter and is preparing to sacrifice his infant granddaughter on the night of the full moon--so he's got three days to get to Louisiana one way or another. Ah, but even if the opening visuals didn't give you a clue, we soon learn that a mysterious "accountant" (very amusingly played by William Fichtner of PRISON BREAK) with obvious supernatural powers is on Milton's trail, determined to bring him back to, um, wherever it is he escaped from in the first place. You do the rest.

Amber Heard is great fun as Piper, Milton's initially unwitting road-trip companion--she'll feistily fight anybody that comes at her, but (realisitically) a hulking bully CAN hurt her when Milton needs to show what HE's capable of. By comparison, Charlotte Ross (perhaps best known for an infamous stint on NYPD BLUE) is frankly wasted as a horny waitress who nevertheless leaves quite an impression in the film's biggest and most ridiculous combination of sex and violence (if CRANK 3-D had actually been made, this scene would probably be the closest match--the rest of the film, not quite so much). In other words, you've got smart/sexy, tough/sexy, silly/sexy and just plain tough female characters all over the place--that's what the genre does, and it's a waste of time to attempt to resolve them to the "real" world.

Billy Burke serves up tasty ham as satanic leader Jonah King, and David Morse (THE GREEN MILE, HEARTS IN ATLANTIS) makes a welcome appearance as an old comrade of Milton's--who thought he was dead, naturally. Oh, and Tom Atkins shows up--yay!

The story often loses coherency (never mind believability), but it delivers what it promises in terms of action, sex and gore. As a horror film, it's a bit easier to take than the previous Cage stinker SEASON OF THE WITCH, but only because it doesn't take itself seriously. As a tongue-in-cheek action film, it DOES provide the best invocation of K.C. and the Sunshine Band yet captured to film. As for the 3D? Well--it's all over the place and you'll get countless bullets, bits of shrapnel and other sharp and blunt objects flung into your face, and the film WILL look quite awkward in its flat version. I'm told that the 3D is quite good in some theatres... unfortunately for me, this is the second time in a row I've been burned by the same theatre (as if I had a choice). This time the focus was off even during the 2D previews at the beginning. I told them about it. Then I told them about it AGAIN. And nothing happened... except that THIS time I got a raincheck for a free movie after I complained.

I'll use it--but I won't use it for another 3D movie, that's for sure...

You want to see it? You'd better hurry. DRIVE ANGRY is a colossal box-office flop. And director Patrick Lussier (DRACULA 2000, etc.) is still threatening us with HALLOWEEN III. Producer Rene Besson is not, to the best of my knowledge, related to Luc Besson, but the name really made me wonder what Luc could have done with THIS one.

Re: Drive Angry

Posted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 4:59 am
by Darth Tanner
Sorry I'm late catching up to this but here goes....

I saw this on opening weekend and really enjoyed it (first theatrical viewing so far this year). Sure it wasn't the greatest movie, but it was definitely a lot more entertaining that I expected it to be. Nicolas Cage was also better in this than I thought he would be. Amber Heard was also fun to watch and very easy on the eyes:) She was just about the only good thing about that STEPFATHER remake and I look forward to seeing her in John Carpenter's upcoming film THE WARD. I would have liked to see Tom Atkins and David Morse get more screen time but they were still good anyway. I didn't have any problems with the 3-D when I saw it Remo so I guess the projectionist at your theatre was asleep on the job. I thought that the 3-D effects were just as good as the remake of MY BLOODY VALENTINE (no surprise since both were directed by Patrick Lussier). I'm also disappointed that this movie tanked badly. But on the other hand, this movie was most likely made strictly for genre fans (or people who liked the CRANK movies) and I certainly have no regrets about seeing it.

The depressing thing is that there hasn't been much out there that I cared to see theatrically so far this year. The one big film I'm looking forward to is Zak Snyder's SUCKER PUNCH which comes out later this month. Beyond that there is THE WARD which is John Carpenter's comeback movie. There is also SCREAM 4 which I'm interested in seeing just to see how the formula works (or doesn't work) over a decade later. But after than there won't be much else until the summer season starts.