Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Drive Angry (2011)

Title: Drive Angry (2011)

Director: Patrick Lussier

Cast: Nicolas Cage, Amber Heard, William Fichtner, Billy Burke, David Morse


Drive Angry is the title they gave this film because that’s exactly what the producers of this film expect everyone to do once they walk out of the theater: Drive Angry, very freaking angry! I guess with that title, they figured they might as well let audiences know what they can expect ahead of time. Wow, what a bad movie. That debt that Nicolas Cage has with the U.S. Government for millions of dollars in unpaid taxes must be a real bitch because the guy is taking every pay day he can get! No matter how crappy the movie is! Are you making a terrible film no one wants to be in? Contact Nicolas Cage’s agent, I’m sure he’ll have no problem squeezing you in to his continuously growing line up of bad films. Yes my friends, here we are once again talking about an extremely shitty Nicolas Cage film which he obviously did out of necessity. At least I hope he did! No self righteous actor would have agreed to be in this poor excuse for a movie. But alas, you might think I’m being overtly cruel with this picture, but I tell you I am not! As I watched it, I just couldn’t help seeing the words “tear this one a new asshole” flashing in my minds eye. And so here I am, poised and ready to tear this one shit stain of a movie a new one. 

This pic makes this film look cooler than it actually is

This film tells the tale of John Milton (get it?) a guy who has just escaped from hell itself! And what is his reason for escaping the fiery pits of Hades? To save his infant granddaughter from being sacrificed by a cult of inbred Satanists; so he has a noble cause at least. Along the way, he befriends an ex-waitress who has just quit her job. And guess what? She's in luck because Mr. Milton arrives just in time to save her from being killed by her abusive boyfriend. Of course, this is just a lame-o excuse so that she feels she like she owes her life to him, so that Cage can have a hot babe tagging along in his adventures. Funniest part of the whole film is that this girl has nothing to do with anything! She’s not related to Milton, the baby isn’t hers, and she has nothing to do with the Satanists, yet she insists in tagging along, risking her life for no reason whatsoever. A simply thank you would have been fine. Unbeknownst to this poor girl is the fact that Milton is being followed by a demon from hell who calls himself ‘The Accountant’. This demon is trying to recover Satan’s gun. You see,  Milton stole it from under Lucifer’s noses. And yes, you read that right kids, Satan has guns in this movie! Shouldnt be that weird, if you accept the fact that there are cars in hell as well, Milton actually escapes from hell in one! Ha! But anyways, Milton doesnt just steal any old gun, this is the gun with which Satan intends to kill God with on Judgment Day! The guns name is “The God Killer”! To be honest, I don’t know why Satan would want this gun; all it does is fire crappy looking CGI bullets that turn anything they hit into an even crappier CGI effect. Will The Accountant ever catch up with John Milton? Will Milton get to rescue his granddaughter from the clutches of the Satanists? 

When you watch Nicholas Cage acting in films like Drive Angry, The Wickerman (2006) or Season of the Witch (2011) you kind of have to wonder if he still gives a crap about acting. You also have to wonder if he’s sold his soul to the devil. I mean what is this, his fourth Satan related film? Let’s see, first there’s Ghost Rider (2006) where he sells his soul to the devil in order to save his fathers life. He then goes on to become the devil’s personal henchman. Then there’s Season of the Witch (2011) a terrible film in which Cage must go on a journey to destroy an evil witch who is possessed by a demon. Then there’s Drive Angry in which he steals Satan’s gun and escapes from Hell to stop a group of Satanists from sacrificing his granddaughter, and finally, there’s the upcoming Ghost Rider 2: Spirit of Vengeance a film that is going to be showing its ugly head sometime in 2012. Not exactly the best films to have on your resume, but then again, considering how much Cage gets paid per picture, the guy should be out of debt and making good movies in no time! Right? In fact, in a small glimmer of hope for Cage’s cinematic career, it was recently announced that Cage would re-unite with Charlie Kaufman and Spike Jonze on a new film project. Something good should come of that reunion, after all, these where the same three guys who brought us the critically acclaimed Adaptation (2002). I’m sure one day we’ll look back at Nicolas Cage’s filmography and think of this particular time in his career as his “tax paying films”; when you think about it, it comes as no surprise that the villain in Drive Angry is called ‘The Accountant’. 

Nicolas Cage's worst nightmare! The Accountant!

Drive Angry is the kind of film that is so badly made that your compulsion to burst out laughing wont be helped; it’ll just come out of you naturally. How bad is this film? Let me count the ways: first off, this film has some of the worst computer animated images I’ve seen since Dinocroc vs. Supergator (2010). I mean, the CGI on this film looked like something you’d expect to see on a Sci-Fi Channel movie of the week. How the hell could Patrick Lussier, this films director, look at this footage and be okay with it? How could he live with himself knowing he’d be responsible for this terrible film? Heres an example of how shitty the effects are: there is this one scene in which a truck hits a bunch of police cars and ends up flying through the air hovering above Cage’s car, and then falls back on the ground. This scene is a text book example of a badly constructed action sequence. The scene was not convincing at all. It had zero believability, zero tension, what it did have was the fakest looking computer effects! The truck was so obviously not there! You know how in some of the worst movies, when characters are talking inside of a moving car, the background looks fake and you can tell the actors are just sitting in front of a projection screen? That’s what happens on this film, you can tell they are sitting on a car with a green screen behind them! Ugh! I haven’t seen effects this bad since Ballistic: Eck Vs. Sever (2002). I clearly remember people laughing at that one in the theater, I’m sure Drive Angry had the same effect on many theater crowds. Just expect some of the worst CGI of your life. 

The worst special effect of all? Nicolas Cage's hair do! 

Patrick Lussier is the director orchestrating this attempted homage to Satanic films. It’s obvious Lussier and crew saw many Satanic classics before deciding to sit down to make this one, the most obvious influence being Race with the Devil (1975), even going as far as using the same car used in that film. Unfortunately, no matter how hard they tried, this isn’t a good film about Satanist. Then again, I really haven’t seen a film about Satanists that wasn’t funny or goofy to some extent. I mean, there are some good ones out there like for example Roman Polanski’s Satanic double whammy Rosemary’s Baby (1968) and The Ninth Gate (1999). It’s really difficult for me to see a film about Satan worshippers and not find it silly somehow, I guess adults dressed up in black hoods, thinking Satan is real is kind of silly to me. If you don’t believe me, then watch The Devils Rain (1975) where you can see Ernest Borgnine become Satan with a beer belly. If you want to laugh even harder check out Christopher Lee in To the Devil a Daughter (1976), and while your there, say hello to Christopher Lee’s ass while your at it, it makes a cameo during an embarrassingly bad orgy sequence. It’s not for nothing that this film ended up being the final nail on Hammer Film Studios coffin. I guess you can add Drive Angry to your list of silly Satanic films.

"Did I ever tell you this here skin jacket is a symbol of my individuality 
and my belief in personal freedom?"

Apparently, portraying a truly frightening Satanic cult isn’t quite as easy as we might think; the results are often times unintentionally funny. On Drive Angry we get the most pathetic group of Satanists ever! Some dance around naked, others don’t, I guess some are more into Satanism then others. The Satanists in Drive Angry are so pussy, that when they actually have a chance to sacrifice a baby and bring forth hell on earth, they think about it. Oh come on! You have the magical dagger, the moon is full and you have the baby in your hands, what are you waiting for?? Jeez. The most satanic thing they do is sit around drinking beers on the night hell is supposed to come to earth! But yeah, this movie is hilarious. I guess maybe in that way it can be enjoyed. To watch it and make fun of it with your buddies, at least thats what I did with my buddies. It does have on good thing going for it. The dialog made me laugh a couple of times. An example: “You know what this batch means? It means Federal Bureau of get the FUCK out of my way!” That’s right my friends, making a film about Satanist, and having it be good or frightening isn’t something that happens very often. I can count with the fingers on my hand how many films have achieved that. I just remembered another good thing that the film has going for it: it gave a small role to Tom Atkins doing what he does best: playing a tough as nails cop! 

Since the film is called Drive Angry, I was expecting it to at least have one memorable car chase sequence, something that really stands out. I was expecting something along the lines of a Fast and the Furious film but with a supernatural angle, or even better Mad Max with a supernatural angle.  And you know what? I bet if done correctly, this kind of film could actually work too. Unfortunately, the chase sequences are bland and filled with bad cgi, which proves to us two things: this movie not only got its supernatural/horror elements all wrong, it got it's car movie angle all wrong as well. Where were the good car chase sequences in this film? This proves my theory about putting guys who are on the technical side of filmmaking to direct, it doesn’t always work. Check out films like Virus (1999), Spawn (1997) and Blade Trinity (2004). All directed by writers, editors, and special effects technicians who thought they were directors. The results with those films where no less disastrous than Drive Angry a film directed by one Patrick Lussier, a guy who made a career out of editing Wes Craven films. In my book he isn’t a good storyteller or filmmaker, he might be a good editor which is what he’s supposed to be good at, but directing and telling a story with a film? Not his forte. You know what? Even his editing sucked on this one, some scenes just didn't match up; if you dont believe me check out this horrible sequence that takes place while The Accountant is chasing Cage down a bridge. Wow, logic, pacing, editing and everything else where entirely forsaken during that scene! If you ask me, My Bloody Valentine (2009) was as good as this director got. Surprisingly, Lussier will be directing yet again! Let’s see if he makes a worthy Halloween flick with his upcoming Halloween III slated for 2012. Buttom line with Drive Angry? This is yet another crap fest to add to Nicolas Cage’s ever declining filmography. Will Cage ever recover from this downward spiral in his career? Will he ever make a good film again? Or will the name Nicolas Cage continue being synonymous with bad films? Only time will tell with these questions. Let’s hope Cage will someday try to regain his dignity as an actor and do something that really cooks, instead of something like Drive Angry which fizzled. 

Rating: 1 out of 5


odenat said...

uhm, that was an interesting post. Such anger. This movie is interesting if it created such strong feeling in you :)))

By the way, anger leads to the dark side, young jedi :)

I'm really intrigued about this movie, i'll try to watch it asap.

Manuel Marrero said...

Bad acting, bad editing, bad dialog, bad story and...Bad hair!! Why does the "god killer" need to be a gun??? Does that mean that god is packing heat too?? I can see it now, Satan with his god killer and God with his trusty six shooters called Love and Hate. Jejejeje...Wait, now thats a movie i would rather see than Drive Angry.

Franco Macabro said...

Odenat: Heres the deal: it's a bad movie, no doubts about it, but one thing is for sure, it'll make you laugh. Also, I'm guessing you could have fun with it if you watch it in MSTK 3000 Mode.

Manuel: You got that right! God vs The Devil, and earth could be their old west as humanity watches the cataclysmic battle! Damn, they should be giving us the millions!

Unknown said...

I think I liked this film a letter more than you did! Wow. I dunno, I enjoyed it for what it was: loud, trashy, exploitation crapola. Plus, you've got to give it up for William Fichtner who was nothing short of awesome in the film, moving through it while doing his best Christopher Walken impersonation.

Maybe I was just in the right mood when I watched it.

Franco Macabro said...

I was in the right mood too, in fact, I was the one who suggested a rental to my friends, but that didnt stop my dissapointment with it once we started watching.

I mean, like you said J.D., it was crapola, and thrashy, this is true, but that didnt stop it from being a bad film, which come on, you have to admit it is. I wasnt expecting anything less than crapola, yet thats what I got.

Still, I had some fun with it in spite of its badness, I laughed all the way through, which is why I gave it a one and not a zero.

The scene that had me cracking up was the bridge scene...I mean, the bridge went on and on forever and ever! Ha! The director kind of forgot all about continuity and the flow of a scene...I mean here we had both characters talking to each other from car to car, and the bridge just keeps on going and going and going....and then when the scene ends and we see the bridge, it really wasnt that long at all. Hilarious!

Unknown said...

Oh, I agree it's a bad film but intentionally so. At least, that's the impression I got. The bridge scene was pretty crazy and funny. I would say that I enjoyed the film for the sheer fact that it kept me entertained. I was never bored and I laughed at a lot of the sheer absurdity of what was going on.

Franco Macabro said...

You think they went with deliberately bad effects? I mean, that truck hurling through the, pretty awful! The effect with the God Killer, what a bad effect! I wonder if these cheesy effects where somehow better had I seen the movie in theaters as opposed to dvd?

I laughed a lot with that scene where Cage is screwing that horny waitress while shooting all the bad guys, but it had been done before in quite a few movies.

David Morse was given so little to do in this movie, he's such a good actor too. Agree about Fichtner beeing the best thing about the movie.

YOu know what made me laugh the most? How so many things just dont make sense, like for example, that scene where they drive into hell, and the bridge behind them starts to blow up for no reason whatsoever except to possibly end the movie with a 3-d effect? I was like why is the bridge blowing up as they are driving through it?? I dont get it!!

Another scene that was hilarious: the church with the satanists singing what was supposed to sound like a christian song....ha ha ha I would have known they were satanist as soon as I heard them sing that shitty ass song!!

You know what, I think I'll give this one a re-watch whenever I'm in a shitty mood.

Neil Fulwood said...

This sounds like it might just be some kind of demented comedic masterpiece - albeit completely unintentionally. The irony of Cage being pursued by a nemesis called The Accountant is awesome - I wondered if that was added in rewrites once Cage had signed on.

I might have to cover this as part of my Summer of Satan retrospective. I'll approach it with low expectations, thought. REALLY low!

Franco Macabro said...

Neil: I'm sure you'll get a laugh out of it, it's guaranteed!

You know, the minute I saw it I thought of your Summer of Satan blog-a-thon, it would fit perfectly in there. I think you'll catch some visual references too Ride With the Devil!

Unknown said...

Demented is the right word. I think the film could have improved considerably if Cage had acted all wild and crazy a la VAMPIRE'S KISS or WILD AT HEART. Now, that would've been very cool.

And yeah, the Satanists singing in the church was pretty funny, now that you mention it. I also thought Amber Heard was pretty good as the tough chick even though, as you pointed out in you review, she had nothing to do with the story! She just tagged along with Cage for additional eye candy, I suppose.

The film made a lot of odd choices, which I liked.

Franco Macabro said...

Agree, movie would've been better off if Cage had been in his wild mode. He wasnt really "on" for this one, and that was kind of odd because the movie actually called for a wild performance if you ask me.

Bob Ignizio said...

Call me crazy, but I loved this movie. I've seen it twice, once in the theater in 3D, once at home in 2D, and had a blast both times. I think you're taking the movie way more seriously than it takes itself. The scene where Cage blows away a small army of bad guys while engaged in coitus alone is worth the rental.

Franco Macabro said...

@Bob Ignizio: I hear ya man, I had fun with the film, it was fast paced and it made me laugh and all, but I cant in good conscience really say it's a well made film, you know what I mean? It's the kind of film that entertains simply because it's so bad.

Anonymous said...

Everybody in the world wants to bugger Amber Heard, that incredible bird is one of the hottest babes of all-time ! ! !.

Matt said...

The movie was definitely bad editing, bad acting, bad everything. Also, if you listen to the scenes where the baby is supposed to be crying.. you'll hear the cries of a 3 year old girl, rather than an actual baby's cry. The baby never cried once in this film and every time they actually showed the baby, it was just sleeping. I guess, the best performance in this movie was the baby's performance, and all it did was sleep. Honest review on a film that could've been made a lot better but failed in every way possible.


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