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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Movie Review: DRIVE ANGRY 3D


Drive Angry 3D is a 2011 action film directed by Patrick Lussier. When Milton (Nicolas Cage) learns of his daughter's murder and granddaughter's kidnapping, he sets out to exact revenge on the man responsible for the heinous act: Satanic magic cult leader Jonah King (Billy Burke). Early in his journey, he meets a young woman named Piper (Amber Heard) whom he befriends and takes on his quest for vengeance. As the two continue to track King, Piper begins to question who Milton really is. A series of violent encounters that result in the deaths of many cause her a great amount of concern, but she ultimately chooses to stand by Milton for as long as it takes to retrieve his infant granddaughter. At the same time, however, a mysterious man known only as the Accountant (William Fichtner) continues to stalk Milton, growing ever closer as the film progresses towards its conclusion.

When I first heard about this movie, I had the automatic - and now seemingly standard - reaction that many an individual has for a Nicolas Cage venture. Because of his slew of financial troubles over the past few years, Cage has elected to sign onto any film that will give him a chance, and it almost begs one to wonder whether he actually reads scripts anymore. Still, I was bored enough to give this one a gander today, but I'll tell you know: I honestly wish I could have those two hours of my life back.

To be fair to the actors, they're not really given much to work with. Even for a movie that begs the audience to abandon any sense of logic or reason, Drive Angry is just a little too over-the-top. I get that the filmmakers were going for the whole "grindhouse" '70s flick feel, but I just couldn't get into it at all (and I'm a huge fan of grindhouse-style features). The plot was pretty predictable and the dialogue was a tad bit stale, but not atrocious. I think the fact that it was easy to understand exactly where everything was going took a little bit of the mystery away from any of the twists and turns, if you even want to call them that.

The acting wasn't much better, with Cage headlining a cast that essentially mails in their collective performances. When Amber Heard is the best actor on-screen, there's something wrong (and I mean no disrespect to Miss Heard, who actually did relatively well with her role). Cage gives us another stinker of a performance, as has become the norm of the past few years. It's truly heart-breaking to see the levels to which this Oscar-winner has stooped, to the point where it's almost painful to keep making fun of him. I know that there's a good actor locked somewhere inside that front he puts up every day, but aside from his supporting role in 2010's Kick-Ass, he hasn't been relevant as an acting force since 2005's Lord of War. Fichtner has a couple of decent moments, but he doesn't get enough screen-time to be considered a scene-stealer. If anyone has to take the loss here, it's definitely Burke, whose performance was the epitome of chewing the scenery.

Ultimately, the real selling point of this film as a failure is the fact that it couldn't keep my interest. The action scenes weren't all that compelling, and when you can't get any excitement out of an action-based flick, you're going to lose your audience. The CGI and the 3D are rudimentary compared to some of the other visual effects we've seen in 2011, so that's just another knock against the film as a whole. Overall, I'd say it's probably not worth your time to give this one a viewing. I know that Nic Cage has some real acting chops buried deep inside him somewhere, but Drive Angry 3D is not the film that brings them back to the surface.

Movie Review Summary:
Grade: D1.5 Thumbs Down

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