Directed by Patrick Lussier
Distributed by Summit Entertainment
I was sadly in the majority as I missed out on experiencing Drive Angry 3D when it hit theaters this past February so my only experience with the film is on Blu-Ray and in a non-3D format. In fact, I’ve been patiently waiting for its home release arrival for the last several months because the word of mouth was great from those who had checked the movie out in theaters. So was Drive Angry worth the wait? Hands down – hell yes!
Drive Angry centers around a mysterious drifter (Nicolas Cage) named Milton who is on the hunt for Jonah King (Billy Burke), a notorious cult leader who murdered Milton’s daughter and then kidnapped his infant granddaughter to be used as part of Jonah’s evil cult scheme that I won’t say too much more about or I’d ruin the third act for you fans out there. Realizing this is a grandiose mission that he would be unable to tackle alone, Milton enlists the help of a beautiful female ass-kicker (Amber Heard). Our hero’s partner in vengeance is an outrageously gorgeous woman named Piper, who almost takes down more bad guys than Milton as it takes a strong woman to carry a movie with a set of cajones this big. Don’t get me wrong; Cage is truly 74 kinds of badass awesomeness in Drive Angry, but Heard delivers a knockout performance that made me find a new level of respect for the up-and-coming actress.
Beyond just the mayhem, there’s a lot more to Drive Angry than insane chase sequences, hot chicks and some of the most glorious knock-down drag-out fights since Machete- the flick also delves into some deeper issues like theories on what hell is like and the lengths to which fury and vengeance would take you in order to protect your family. Don’t worry; nothing in Drive Angry ever gets preachy, and much of that is due to the performance of ‘The Accountant’ portrayed by William Fichtner. The character actor who wowed me previously in movies like Go and Blackhawk Down, as well as on the television series “Invasion”, is always on top of his game, but here he seems to be at his best because not only does he steal the scene every time he comes on the screen, but most of the bright comedic moments in Drive Angry come from The Accountant’s need to locate and retrieve Milton, who has done the unthinkable on his watch and escaped from hell and returned to Earth. He’s an antagonist to Milton; yet, The Accountant definitely admires his resourcefulness and that unfolds in some very entertaining ways in the third act.
Drive Angry is fun-fueled exploitation bliss that hearkens to the golden days of grindhouse flicks and features the pure spectacle of the car/action movies of the 70s. Lussier, as a director, has never been so ambitious, and I applaud his and co-writer Todd Farmer’s script that seemed to balance action, comedy and camp with ease. And even though my Blu-ray was not in 3D (and there are clearly moments in Drive Angry where it was definitely apparent that certain shots were created to complement the 3D), I honestly enjoyed the hell out of the movie in the 2D format. Drive Angry in 3D I guess would only enhance the fun so if you have the tech, you owe it to yourself to check it out.
The DVD and the Blu-ray both look pretty spectacular with of course the high definition version taking the cake when it comes to both visuals and sound.
In terms of special features, Drive Angry‘s audio commentary with Lussier and Farmer is definitely enjoyable for fans of theirs. The deleted scenes are pretty standard and don’t really add much to the overall experience of Drive Angry (although I generally think deleted scenes were deleted for a reason in most cases so while they pique my interest, they generally leave me unsatisfied). What did steal the show was watching the movie in Access: Drive Angry mode that gives fans some really interesting looks at the movie that will keep you entertained throughout the film without feeling too invasive either.
Overall, if you’re a fan of movies like Planet Terror, Death Proof, Hobo With a Shotgun or earlier faves like Duel or Roger Corman’s original Death Race 2000, Drive Angry is going to be right up your proverbial alley. Even though it ended up D.O.A in theaters earlier this year, exploitation fans would be remiss if they didn’t check out Drive Angry in their own homes. It’s a movie that deserves to find an audience one way or another.
4 out of 5
3 out of 5
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