Drive Angry
dir Patrick Lussier
scr Todd Farmer, Patrick Lussier
prd Rene Besson, Michael De Luca
with Nicolas Cage, Amber Heard, William Fichtner, Billy Burke, David Morse, Charlotte Ross, Katy Mixon, Christa Campbell, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Jack McGee, Marc Macaulay, Bryan Massey
release US/UK 25.Feb.11
11/US Lionsgate 1h44
Drive Angry
Bat out of hell: Heard and Cage

fichtner burke morse
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Drive Angry Less a fully realised thriller than a series of rampaging set pieces, this rollicking movie at least provides some goofy good fun for audiences, plus one terrific performance. Otherwise, it's just misogynistic carnage.

Milton (Cage) is on a mission to avenge the death of his daughter and rescue his grandchild from a charismatic satanic cult leader (Burke). But he's being tenaciously pursued by a man (Fichtner) who calls himself the Accountant and clearly has supernatural powers. Indeed, it turns out that Milton has escaped from hell, and the Accountant is here to bring him back. Although he rather enjoys causing chaos here on earth. Meanwhile, Milton teams up with Piper (Heard), mainly because she has a seriously hot car.

The screenwriters don't bother trying to make the plot hang together, nor to they create characters that make any sense. The only point of the script is to link together each explosive action scene with vaguely witty and thoroughly random one-liners. Director Lussier seems only interested in blowing things up, in the sense that every car that runs into something bursts into an enormous ball of hellish flames. And the vehicles themselves are essentially muscle-car porn. Girls are only here as objects of secondary lust.

Through this noisy commotion, Cage barely breaks a sweat. He seems to be thinking of something else entirely, hiding under yet another insane wig and waving around big guns half-heartedly. Just a bit of his usual wide-eyed, scene-stealing bravado could have made this a guilty pleasure classic, but he leaves the centre of the film feeling like a vacuum. Fortunately, into this walks Fichtner, with a hilariously nutty performance that's, frankly, reason enough to see this movie.

As the pseudo-plot barrels ahead, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake, Fichtner's quirky asides keep us chuckling, distracting us from the haphazard pointless of the entire film. The unnecessary 3D is technically efficient, and some of the driving stunts are impressive even if they are heavily reliant on digital trickery. It's just a shame that the filmmakers couldn't be bothered to crank up the story or characters. Or Nicolas Cage for that matter.

cert 18 themes, grisly violence, language, sexuality 28.Jan.11

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© 2011 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall