3D is the bane of cinema. There, I said it. And I’m glad I did. Despite the occasional three dimensional triumph (How to Train Your Dragon), most movies do not need it. Rarely have I been thankful I saw a film in 3D, fearful that I may have missed something watching it in boring old regular 2D. After the backlash from shoddy up conversions, it appears studios now deem it necessary to advertise their film as being “shot in 3D,” as evidenced by the Drive Angry poster, though at this point, it hardly matters; the extra dimension is still unnecessary. Nevertheless, I’ve always stood by this point: 3D, as good or bad as it can be, is never the deciding factor in the quality of a picture. So as much as I hate the notion of wearing those silly glasses and looking at a dim picture, I still must admit to having quite a bit of fun with Drive Angry.
Nicolas Cage (who seems to be in every other movie these days) plays Milton. He has just escaped from Hell and is on a mission to save his infant granddaughter from being sacrificed by a Satanic cult led by Jonah King, played by Billy Burke. On his journey, he befriends Piper, played by Amber Heard, and has to contend with “The Accountant,” played by William Fichtner, who is on a mission to capture him and bring him back to Hell.
If you couldn’t tell by that ridiculous plot synopsis, Drive Angry is essentially a B-movie. It has a B-movie story, B-movie dialogue, B-movie acting and, keeping in line with its B-movie brethren, a number of nagging narrative inconsistencies. Although I suspect some of its inanity is unintentional, most of it is a wink and a nod to the people in the audience who get it. Aside from a couple of dramatic missteps (mainly due to the fact that drama even exists—in a movie like this, it shouldn’t) it knows exactly what it’s doing. Drive Angry is a silly, violent, purposely over-the-top picture that is accompanied by blazing heavy metal whenever someone struts or postures. It's exactly the type of low grade filth many will shun, but there's no denying that what it does, it does well.
It’s a movie that wishes to channel those old grindhouse films while keeping a modern tongue-in-cheek vibe. In a way, it aspires to be like 2007’s Shoot ‘Em Up, even going so far as to replicate one of its crazier scenes. However, Drive Angry doesn’t have the style or humor of Shoot ‘Em Up. With the exception of a few funny lines, only William Fichtner channels the type of vibe that film nailed so perfectly. Every moment he is onscreen is a delight and as soon as he disappears, you’ll be counting down the minutes until he comes back.
There’s not much more to say about Drive Angry. It’s big, loud, relentless and stupid, but it’s fun. Not random-trip-to-Vegas fun; more like a casual trip to a restaurant with friends fun—you’re glad you did it, but once you’ve digested it, it’s time to move on.
Drive Angry receives 3/5