Drive Angry 3D is the latest Nicolas Cagejourney into fast vehicles, the supernatural and bullet-spraying mayhem.If you mixed Ghost Rider, Gone in 60 Seconds and Con Air together, you still wouldn't reach the depths of high-octane absurdity that Drive Angry does. That's not exactly a compliment.
Cage stars as Milton, a nasty ex-con who has escaped from the fires of hell in order to track down the cult leader, Jonah King (Billy Burke), who has killed his daughter and kidnapped his baby granddaughter. King plans on sacrificing the child in a satanic ritual meant to achieve the devil's reign on Earth. Dragged into assisting Milton is a tough and sexy waitress, Piper (Amber Heard), who gets a whole lot more than she bargained for when she gave this stranger a ride in her sweet '69 Charger.
Pursuing Milton is The Accountant (William Fichtner), who keeps the devil's books and makes sure that anyone who escapes from hell is returned there. This manhunter from the netherworld fears just one thing: the God Killer Gun, a supernatural firearm that Milton stole from hell and which can obliterate any being (i.e. no heaven, no hell, just pure nonexistence).
Drive Angry makes Punisher: War Zone seem pretty staid by comparison. It is campy and over-the-top in its action, machismo and coolness from the first frame on. As directed by Patrick Lussier (which he also scripted with Todd Farmer), Drive Angry is the closest thing to what a shoot 'em-up black comedy from the 1970s starring Charles Bronson and directed by the likes of George Romero or Roger Corman might have been like.
Sadly, it's not as fun or good as that might seem. There are a smattering of moments of dumb fun and visceral awe peppered throughout the film, but it's mostly painfully stupid, heavy with exposition and chock full of head-scratching, WTF moments. It's not a turkey, but it is one of the loudest, silliest and dumbest movies you'll ever see -- and one damn proud to be all of that.
The performances range from sleepwalking (Cage) to campy awfulness (Burke) to scene-stealing fun (Fichtner) and fairly decent (Heard). Cage appears dispirited to even be in the movie; physically, he's committed to it, but his delivery is so inert that it seems like a chore for him to even spit out his many dumb lines. He only rouses to life when he gets to do something somewhat hammy or cool, but overall he simply shows up.
Heard is fun and sexy and kicks a lot of ass here. She and Fichtner, who steals the show as the Tommy Lee Jones from hell, walk away from Drive Angry with their heads held highest. Burke plays his cult leader as a cross between Jim Jones, Jim Morrison and Billy Bob Thornton, and leaves no bit of scenery unchewed. I haven't seen a satanic bad guy this over-the-top since Wes Bentley in Ghost Rider. David Morse grumbles his way through his brief but thankless paycheck role as a pal of Milton's.
As a 3D experience, Drive Angry has its moments, but nothing truly unique to offer (mostly stuff being hurled or shot at the camera). If you're hellbent on sitting through yet another silly, over-the-top Nic Cage genre flick then Drive Angry is probably worth seeing -- albeit buzzed with your buddies, and realizing the whole thing's played for laughs. But don't expect much more from it than that.