HT Schuyler: Drive Angry Review

Posted: July 3, 2011 by htschuyler in HT Schuyler's Movie Reviews

Rated 18A for graphic violence, strong language and explicit sexual content.

Starring: Nicolas Cage, William Fichtner, Amber Heard, Billy Burke and David Morse.

Directed by: Patrick Lussier.

Before I start this review, I’d just like to quickly state that if you watched the trailer for this movie and thought “That looks like the dumbest movie ever”, or something along those lines, don’t see this movie. This movie is exactly what the trailer made it out to be and more, so if you don’t like that, and are not a fan of these types of movies, don’t see it. Plain and simple. That being said, if you DO like these types of movies, and thought it looked like a fun midnight movie based on the trailer, well, read on…

Drive Angry or Drive Angry Shot in 3D came out back in February, and after watching the trailer, I was curious about it. Despite most people thinking it looked like utter garbage based on the trailer, I thought it looked like good, mindless, exploitation fun. After missing it in theaters, I eagerly rented it on DVD. I really was not sure what to think, but I wasn’t expecting a good story, or acting for that matter. I was just hoping for some gory entertainment, with maybe a few laughs thrown in. Yeah, maybe this wasn’t an award winning film, but was it still a full throttle entertaining thrill ride? Well, sort of.

The plot is ridiculously absurd, but also pretty badass. Nicolas Cage plays Milton, a man who escapes from Hell in order to save his baby granddaughter from a cult of violent Devil worshipers who plan to sacrifice the baby on the next full moon. On the way, he teams up with Piper (Amber Heard), a feisty, troubled girl who just wants a purpose in life. Hot on Milton’s trail is The Accountant (William Fichtner), sent to bring Milton back to Hell. Most of the acting is tongue in cheek, and you can tell the actors weren’t trying to win Oscars, they were just having fun. I’ve always liked Nicolas Cage, but here his acting is sometimes really campy and funny, and sometimes it just looks like he’s bored. Normally it would be alright for this type of movie, but unfortunately it prevents the audience from really caring for his character, which is actually necessary if you want the emotional factor to be present in the film. Amber Heard was good, she didn’t really have all that much to do besides just be a “badass” female lead, but for what it was worth she did create a good character and you enjoyed her moments on screen. Billy Burke, who plays the main villain in the film, was good, but he never really crossed the line that actually makes the viewer afraid of him, and for the most part he just got on your nerves. Those his intentions were evil, and you wanted Nicolas Cage to get his revenge, he just seemed generic. Granted, he did have some fun scenes, and his interactions with Nicolas Cage were well played out, and the conclusion that came to his character was satisfying. David Morse was good as always for his short time on screen, and created a likable character. But the award for best actor/character in the movie goes to William Fichtner. He stole the show every time he was on screen, and you were looking forward to when he would show up next. He cleverly created one of the most likable, amusing and entertaining characters I’ve ever seen in an action film in a long time. In fact, I would love to see a spin-off movie about the character, and his misadventures in returning escapees to Hell, but only if he was played by Fichtner. The movie would have worked without him, but his acting abilities create the best character in the film, and all of the best scene’s are the ones with him in them.

The Good:

To put it as simply as possible, this movie is fun. The action is over the top and hilariously brutal, there are some good stunts and likable characters. There is some great dialogue and clever one-liners, and even some genuinely funny scenes. Seeing this movie on DVD means I missed out on the 3D, which really doesn’t bother me at all, but you can really tell which scenes were made for 3D, but overall it holds up well in 2D. The direction is well done, the director, Patrick Lussier, really knows how to display atmosphere and films action scenes very well. His previous film was the 2009 remake of My Bloody Valentine, also in 3D, and he really improved on the way he shot the violence, and it looks a lot better, but this may be due to the budget, considering it had almost three times the amount as My Bloody Valentine had. So, the action and violence is good, the gore effects look realistic and are effective, some creative dialogue and memorable quotes, and overall looks well made and professional.

The Bad:

Despite this movie being extremely entertaining, it is heavily flawed. There are plot points and story elements brought up but never expanded on, unanswered questions that really needed to be answered, and some of the special effects are hilariously terrible. Granted, maybe they look great in 3D, but in 2D it’s just embarrassing. The plot can sometimes be hard to follow, and you find yourself asking what just happened, or where certain characters went, or how a car can go flipping over a bridge just by being shot at and hitting a barricade. Also, the acting from side characters can be awkward at times, and sometimes characters motivations and actions don’t make a whole lot of sense. You can nitpick all you want for a movie like this, but in the end you need to just sit back and enjoy. You don’t need to shut your brain off for a movie like this, but you do need to be willing to enjoy it for what it’s worth.

In Conclusion:

This is not a great film, but it’s really not that bad either. You should know right away from watching the trailer if your going to see this or not, and as I said, if you didn’t like the look of the trailer, don’t watch this movie, because it is exactly what the trailer makes it out to be. It seems pointless to give this movie a rating out of 10, because you should already know whether your going to see this or not, but just for the sake of it I will give it a 6.5, and that’s on an entertainment value scale. If you don’t enjoy these types if movies that glorify sex and violence, then don’t watch it, but if your the type of person who like fun action, retro cars, gratuitous nudity and lots of shooting, check it out.


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