As the awards season has come and gone, all of the hype over the Oscar-nominated films has passed and with yet a few months to go before the massive summer blockbusters start to roll into theaters, it’s the perfect time for those films that fit neither of those categories to jump onto the big screen. One of those films is “Drive Angry 3D,” directed by Patrick Lussier (“Dracula 2000,” “My Bloody Valentine 3D”) and written by Todd Farmer (“The Messengers,” “My Bloody Valentine 3D”).
John Milton (Nicolas Cage) is a criminal who has broken out of Hell to get revenge on Jonah King (Billy Burke), a cult leader who bamboozled Milton’s daughter into joining the cult and then killed her when she tried to get out. Another driving force behind his vengeance scheme is the fact that the cult took his granddaughter and plans to sacrifice her in a ritual on the next full moon to release Armageddon on earth. But Milton is not the only one recently released from the fiery pits of Hell, Satan’s own bounty hunter “the accountant” (William Fichtner) is hot on his trail ready to bring him back to the sulfurous depths at any cost.
Milton runs into a Midwestern waitress, Piper (Amber Heard), who is in a bad relationship of her own. When things turn violent, they both have some anger to release, so she decides to team up on his revenge trip and go after King and his men. With many bloody encounters on the way, will Milton be able to stop the madness of King before it’s too late for his granddaughter?
“Drive Angry 3D” is one of those hard films to categorize to a general audience; it’s made in a way that makes you think its part satire and part Grindhouse. Men likely will be drawn to this film more than women because of the action, and there is a sub-sect of the male population that will truly get this movie and enjoy it.
The acting is ok, and the story is fine, its main weakness is that maybe it takes itself a little too seriously, and when it does it loses its audience. This is the kind of film that is so outrageous at times that it needs to be seen with the knowledge that it is such. If you thoroughly enjoyed “Planet Terror” and “Death Race,” you can definitely appreciate this film. So over the top with some of its action it’s almost comedic, but still pretty fun to watch. The standout performance in this movie is by William Fichtner as “the accountant.” He is funny, and energetic, while delivering some of the best lines totally straight-faced. It is in the scenes between Fichtner and Cage that we see the best chemistry and energy from Cage. For a majority of the movie, Cage seems almost like he is just doing this for a paycheck, but in those key scenes where the two are face to face we get more out of him.
The 3D effects in this film were great, but they should be since it was shot in 3D and not converted afterwards like so many recent 3D films have been. It uses the third dimension like it should be used, to immerse the viewer in the scene, and of course it has some cool objects flying right at the audience as well. So is this movie worth the 3D surcharge? To those that want to see it, then I would be inclined to say yes.
I went into this film knowing what it was and what to expect, so I enjoyed most of it. It was somewhat cheesy and raunchy at times, but that is the style in which I assume it was meant to fall into. I think that there will be a lot of people disappointed in it, but those who are lovers of the genre will get some enjoyment from it. Would I suggest this film to a general audience? No, but to those who know what a Grindhouse film is, then I would say yes.
Nicolas Cage has been under scrutiny the past few years for his sporadic choices in the movies he makes. I don’t know if it was this reputation, the fact that the movie was 3D, or if it was just the wrong weekend to be released, but “Drive Angry 3D” opened in ninth place this past weekend with a measly $5 million opening weekend gross. Some are saying that this could be the lowest opening weekend for a 3D film ever!
So what is it about this movie that drove the fans away? Was it Nicolas Cage, the storyline or is everybody sick of 3D movies already? Sound off in the comments section and let me know if you plan on seeing this movie, and if not then why?
“Drive Angry 3D” is in wide release now and is rated R for brutal violence, grisly images, sexual content, nudity and pervasive language.
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