Drive Angry (Blu-ray)
It’s important to remember that not every movie can be CITIZEN KANE. The world needs mindless, over-the-top action that’s silly and mind-numbing. The trick to making movies like that work is that the filmmakers have to actually know they’re making that kind of film and not end up making it by accident. Luckily for the filmmakers of DRIVE ANGRY, they knew what they were making and aside from a misstep towards the end, they succeeded in making a fun film.
Although the running story is about a man that escaped hell to rescue his baby granddaughter, the film doesn’t waste too much time setting it up. By the time we jump into the fold, Milton (Nicolas Cage) is hot on the heels of some of the bad guys that kidnapped his grandbaby. This is a good move by director Patrick Lussier, who was aware enough to realize this kind of film isn’t about the plot and the details of what’s going on are better served being sprinkled throughout the film rather than wasting twenty minutes in the beginning trying to set everything up. We paid to see bad guys get killed in creative ways and that’s exactly what Lussier delivers.
After the initial car chase, Milton teams up with Piper (Amber Heard), seemingly only because she has a nice car. But the two of them continue the quest to save the baby that’s going to be sacrificed by Jonah King (Twilight’s Billy Burke), who also killed and raped Milton’s daughter. And of course, the devil isn’t happy about having someone escape, so Milton and Piper also have to evade “The Accountant”, played perfectly by William Fichter. The Accountant doesn’t serve much purpose, but he was a fun character that had some funny lines and it added to the overall cheese factor.
The funniest aspect of DRIVE ANGRY is actually unintentionally provided by the presence of David Morse as Milton’s old friend. Up until Morse’s appearance, every single actor had reached a level of bad and cheesy that you usually don’t see in first run movies. Then the very talented Morse shows up and delivers his lines well and he looked and felt completely out of place. He did great with what he had, but he seemed to be the only one that took his part seriously. Most of his lines were with Nicolas Cage, who looked like he was either on his way to, or on his way back from getting drunk at a bar. Again, this isn’t the type of movie that anyone cares about acting, but even cheesy lines should be delivered properly.
The fun of the film comes from the excessively over-the-top action sequences, whether it’s watching Milton kill a team of thugs while in the act of having sex or blindly shooting the bad guys in an abandoned church. Lussier had fun with this and that helps the audience have fun with it as well. Even though some of the themes are disturbing (Jonah actually bathes in blood at one point), none of it can be taken too seriously. The film was poorly acted and lazily produced, but the action was fun, the dialogue was laughable (intentionally) and it moved fast enough to keep us entertained.
Video: This was supposed to be watched in 3D, and therefore you’re going to notice some problems in certain scenes, most notably, any time they’re in a car. There’s a halo effect around the actors, which is presumably because of the 3D. It’s not horrible, but it’s another reason to spring for a 3D TV.
Audio: The audio does a fine job of keeping the “loudness” of the film on par with the excessive nature.
Audio Commentary with filmmaker Patrick Lussier and Todd Farmer: First off a warning, director Patrick Lussier begins the commentary by telling us he has laryngitis which is why his voice sounds so scratchy and fakey. Personally I would have preferred they just reschedule because I found this a distraction, but that’s just me. These guys keep a pretty decent flow of information going which was interesting to listen to for the most part. If you watched the movie then you probably don’t mind violence and foul language, but be forewarned that these two do cuss quite frequently throughout this commentary as well.
Deleted Scenes (1:36): Two short scenes, one of which is really stretching to call deleted as about 20 of the 36 seconds was actually in the film. Not really worth your time unless you’re bored.
Access: Drive Angry: An interactive feature where you can gain access to cast and crew insights, Milton’s Mayhem or Did You Know Trivia that can be viewed during film play.