Tuesday 1 March 2011

Review: Drive Angry

Year: 2011
Director: Patrick Lussier
Screenplay: Patrick Lussier, Todd Farmer
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Amber Heard, William Fichtner

Synopsis is here

Drive Angry is a trashy little exploitation flick that for the most part does exactly what it says on the tin. Sex? Check. Blood and Gore? Check. Nic Cage walking away from an explosion in slow motion? Double check. It's silly, ridiculous and for the most part it's kinda fun in a schlocky sort of way. Don't go looking for "serious" write up of a film like this because it doesn't take itself seriously. Unfortunately despite it's b-movie intentions I'm quite surprised it doesn't go for broke.

The film is about a man named John Milton (geddit?) escaping hell to seek bloody revenge on those who have killed his daughter. So why is it that we have Nic Cage in the lead role not chewing the scenery like a child chomping on taffy? In fact why are we seeing not only Cage but the script itself so restrained? This is a film that need not copy Planet Terror but defiantly needs to get hold of the same energy. Unfortunately this lack of verve (right word to use for a grindhouse pic?) display the films main weakness. This is a film that suffers from too much downtime and not enough lunacy. We can forgive Drive Angry for a patchy narrative if it promises not to be dull. But tell that to the films middle act, which goes nowhere. It's fairly obvious that in the hands of Roger Corman; 15 minutes would have been yanked out of it's 104 minute run time.

We must also add that despite a story which features god guns, breaking out of hell, lunatic priests and the like, why are are the set pieces so uninspiring? Is it because there's TOO much money for something like this? We used to see films like this at your local video store; costing less but having way more nuttiness throughout. Hell, compare this even Hostel and you could be surprised at how little this film does to turn heads. But at least Lussier understands that 3D is best used as a gimmick.

The reason to see this if any it seems is the two performances from Amber Heard and William Fichtner, as they seem to understand that Drive Angry is supposed to be a laugh and get the tone right. Least not Heard who has a character that not only wants to be a strong ass kicking female but also wishes to titillate like an Zoo magazine model. Let's not lie here as most men in the screen will be watching to see how far those hot pants ride up Miss Heard's pert posterior. Heard however manages to be more interesting to watch than Cage just by being up for the role. Fichtner in the meanwhile steals most scenes he's in by not only getting all the best lines, but also having fun with the films most intriguing character.

Driver Angry may gain more fans on DVD and fair play to it. However those who enjoy their grindhouse without a certain amount of gloss may look elsewhere. Just think about that for a minute...grindhouse with gloss...see where the problems lie?