Sunday 27 February 2011

Drive Angry 3D Review: One hell of a ride!

Synopsis: John Miller (Nicolas Cage) escapes from hell to rescue his granddaughter from the satanic cult that killed his daughter. He takes along a waitress for the ride, while the "Accountant", an agent of Satan, is on their trail to bring him back.

Review: It would be a stretch to say director Patrick Lussier is one of the best directors working at the moment. Saying that, after a few forgettable made for dvd horrors, he really seems to be coming into his own, and developing his style. After the underrated My bloody Valentine remake, one of the first film to fully embrace proper 3D and not the 2D to 3D post conversion travesty, comes his new offering, which is one of the most trashy fun I have seen in a long time. Fast cars, loose women, Nicolas Cage with a shotgun, mindless 3D gore, and a great gothic horror meets 70's biker movie atmosphere.

Despite a gloriously preposterous story, you can feel the care and love for his craft throughout the film. My bloody valentine shone with some inventive deaths and a few original scenes, but felt a little restrained by the rules of slasher movies,  but no such constraints here and he lets his imagination run wild.

As you would expect for a former cinematographer, each shot is carefully laid out, and his direction is assured when it comes to the action, with some particularly bad ass car chase scenes. And the 3D is top notch, with debris and body parts flying at you, while giving depths to the carnage. Yes there are naked women, women on women fight scenes, body parts get hacked off, heads get blown off, but unlike the rampant misogyny and idiocy of say, Crank, he keeps the whole thing good natured and fleshes out some very interesting and likeable characters (both male and female) that you care about, including the smaller parts.

You wouldn't like me when I'm angry

Amber Heard is anything but a damsel in distress and hold her own in a great part, a Southern girl/tart with a heart who is lethal with a gun. And Nicolas Cage is Nicolas Cage (I just love him no matter what he does) in a more restrained part than usual Having just watched Bad Lieutenant, port of call New Orleans, I was waiting for his big shouty scene that never came. He still got it though, looking as badass as ever with a shotgun, and he has got one incredible scene, impeccably choreographed, where he is shagging a blonde cocktail waitress while dispatching 6 baddies with a gun, a bottle of whisky in the other hand! (I know it's been ripped off Shoot them up with Clive Owen but it so so much better in here)

William Fichtner

But is the revelation is William Fichtner as the Accountant. Recognisable thanks to his numerous supporting roles over the year, he finally gets the part he deserved. Rather than having the minion of Satan as some one dimensional cgi demon, he offers us a character that looks straight out of Resevoir dogs,  suave in a smart dark suit, witty and incredibly cool... He makes you hope for his own spin off! And the bevy of redneck satanists is just hysterical. Also watch out for a reference to My bloody valentine...

Sadly, the film has completely tanked at the box office this week end. It seems that the average American moviegoer can take violence and misogyny as long as it is kept to the level of your average gangsta rap video (like the Fast & Furious franchise) and devoid of any humour. But crank it all up to OTT levels, to the point where it ceases to be offensive to become mindless enjoyment and it flops. We've seen it happen with Grindhouse, Machette, and to a lesser extent Piranha 3D. It did not help that the marketing did not make it clear what to expect. A truly unjustified flop so catch it up in his full 3D glory on the big screen while you can.

Rating: 9/10

US 2011 Directed by Patrick Lussier. Starring Nicolas Cage, Amber Heard, William Fichtner...

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