Saturday, February 26, 2011

Review: Drive Angry 3-D (2011)

Director Patrick Lussier's Drive Angry 3-D, starring Nicolas Cage and his hair, tells the implausible tale of a durable shell of a man that escapes from Hell to avenge the death of his daughter. Milton (Cage) has spent the preceeding years of existence viewing the struggles of his loved ones in a cell of the underworld. The most recent and devastating site he has witnessed is his daughter's conversion to the occult. The fuse that detonated Milton's escape from Hell was sparked by the devlish, devious leader of this cult (Billy Burke, Feast of Love, Fracture)- who murdered his daughter abd kidnapped his granddaughter. Alongside Milton on this high-octane hunt is a waitress (Amber Heard, Pineapple Express) who is providing wheels and good looks I suppose. Hot on Milton's trail of firey wreckage is Satan's right-hand man, The Accountant (William Fichtner, Armageddon, Black Hawk Down) and the local Sherrif's Department. Will Milton and his unrealistically attractive waitress have what it takes to save the child? As most are aware of the infamous Nic Cage's recent debt issue, many moviegoers are well prepared for garbage at showings of recent Cagesploitation films. Occasionally however, Cage and/or Cage's agent will have a short stroke of genius (i.e. Werner Herzog's Bad Lieutenant- Port of Call- New Orleans). Drive Angry is not one of those occasions. With such a synopsis and such a leading star, I was not expecting a breath-taking cinematic masterpiece, however I was prepared to turn my brain off and enjoy an exploited non-stop, action flick. The problem with Drive Angry is that it takes the "awesomely" out of awesomely bad. Films such as Machete and Black Dynomite succeed because they know their identity- they are over the top films that have no problem making fun of themselves. The only individuals making fun of Drive Angry, however, are the viewers and critics- and not in the good way. A few saving graces of the film were the money spent on special effects, the atmosphere of a Grindhouse Feature, David Morse (though could have used much more of him), and the always impressive- yet underrated- William Fichtner. Fichtner's charm and on-screen charisma redeemed many scenes from mediocrity. The final twenty minutes of the film were much more enjoyable than the preceeding hour and fourteen, however not enough to completely rescue this film from a state of dullness (which is a state that would seem hard to achieve for a film about a Hell escapee avenging his daughter's death). Drive Angry is a mildly enjoyable Redbox candidate, scoring 2 stars.

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