The chance to watch Nicolas Cage donning yet another bizarrely terrible wig is one that cinemagoers shouldn’t pass up lightly. When you see that he’ll be co-starring with yet another toupee in a film called Drive Angry, presented in 3D? Well, to say no would be foolish.
First things first – Drive Angry 3D was obviously never going to be, and never aimed to be, an Oscar winner. But if there’s one thing in particular you can take from the film, it’s that it takes a trashy, silly, frankly ridiculous idea and takes it to every trashy, silly and frankly ridiculous conclusion you could wish for. The key to its moderate success is in this self-consciousness which acts as an ultimatum to the audience: go along for the ride, or stay well away.
Cage plays John Milton (yes, really), a dead man who has inexplicably escaped from Hell in order to avenge the death of his daughter and save the life of his baby granddaughter, who has been kidnapped for sacrificial purposes by a Satanist cult. In 3D. Along the way, Milton picks up a walking pair of gratuitously tiny hotpants (Amber Heard), and is pursued by the mysterious Accountant, a scene-stealing William Fichtner.
For what it is, Drive Angry is surprisingly good. Directed by Patrick Lussier, also behind fun horror My Bloody Valentine 3D, the film is a welcome blast of tongue-in-cheek excess after Oscar season. There’s everything you’d expect from a grindhouse project – little-to-no character development, copious nudity, gore and violence, as well as frequent knowing nods to the audience. Fichtner devours the scenery, while Heard is feisty and always watchable.
Cage’s performance is downright bizarre, which perhaps may just be the perfect thing for a film this mad. Whether he’s standing round mechanically, staring blankly at fires, drinking beer from a skull, or spewing out dialogue in monotone, it’s another chance to see how weird Cage can be at times. It’s also kind of entrancing – you literally have no idea what he’s going to do next.
If you enjoyed the likes of Machete and Planet Terror, there’s a decent chance that there’s at least something you’ll enjoy in Drive Angry 3D, with the eye-gouging nature of the 3D effects being particularly appropriate for the exploitative nature of the genre. If this is your sort of thing, it’ll be one of the most fun cinema experiences you’ve had in ages, otherwise avoid.
Drive Angry 3D is as crazy, unnatural and improbable as Cage’s wig, but it’s also loads of fun. There’s a scene featuring Cage having sex with a woman during a gunfight – cigar in mouth, gun in one hand, bottle of JD in the other. If that sounds like insane genius to you, see it.
Entertainment Value: 3.5/5
Genre Value: 4/5
Overall Rating: 3.5/5