Drive Angry comes closer to capturing the 1970s grindhouse vibe than either Robert Rodriquez or Quentin Tarantino were able to capture in their 2008 double feature. If you can get past the gratuitous violence, nudity, and coarse language there is a certain pleasure to be found in this wildly outlandish throwback to the sleazy pictures of the era that gave us the exploitation picture. Nicolas Cage continues to be the hardest working actor in showbiz. If you think Dwayne Johnson or Tom Cruise are prolific—-check out Cage’s IMDB page. And his predilection for choosing offbeat material has resulted in classics like Raising Arizona, Leaving Las Vegas, and Lord of War, but it’s also produced bombs too numerous to list here. I struggle to think of another actor who could or would throw themselves so fully into this role and project, but in Cage’s eccentric hands the film becomes memorable and another guilty pleasure from the A-list Star.
Deceased career criminal Milton (Nicolas Cage) breaks free from hell to pursue the cult that killed his daughter and abducted her baby, racing to save the infant before the group’s enigmatic leader (Billy Burke) sacrifices her. Milton is aided by a spitfire southern girl (Amber Heard) and the pair are themselves being hunted by Satan’s right-hand man, a determined accountant (William Fichtner)
This is a tawdry, presumably offensive film with little care other than to revel in the excess of a forgotten genre. Cage and Heard have good chemistry and the always interesting William Fichtner goes low-key in his performance to offset the high-pitch of the material. It’s an effective choice and the few scenes that feature both he and Cage are the best in the picture. Drive Angry certainly isn’t for mass audiences, but those looking for a raucous, lively, and gory mishmash could do a lot worse.
Director: Patrick Lussier
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Amber Heard, William Fichtner, Billy Burke