Thursday, 24 February 2011

REVIEW: Drive Angry


Oh God. It's Killers all over again. This movie is meant to be terrible, I'm supposed to make jokes about Nicolas Cage's hair (it looks fucking ridiculous) Amber Heard being the PJ Soles of our generation and a deep examination about what possibly could lead a screenwriter, a director, hundreds of execs and an entire fucking studio to deduce that Drive Angry is a good name for a movie. Because I mean what the fuck. But I'll have to save it for another day, because to spend my whole review ripping the piss would be unfair to a film which is, by and large, a entertaining and appropriately amusing guilty pleasure piece. It's far, far from high art, but what it is it owns, and thus I must live in a world where I have to give Drive Angry a positive review.

I think this is a more successful attempt to do what say, Planet Terror tried to do. With that film, the irony was so effervescent and unavoidable, it choked the life out of the thing. Rodriguez set out to make a shit movie way beneath him, while Patrick Lussier is making the best movie he'll ever make. And while Planet Terror was condescending even to itself, there's an adolescent sense of joy about Drive Angry that all exploitation seems somehow charming. To be clear, its trash by even the loosest definition, but its trash with a personality and that's all it needed to do. It needed not to feel like every other piece of crap that gets dumped out in February, and then I can taken anything it throws at me. If anything, Nicolas Cage gives the subtlest performance in the movie, and is positively restrained. I guess he takes being an action hero seriously. Amber Heard's plays a pretty rote feisty southern ho, but she's got enough about her that she makes you wish she'd played Sookie Stackhouse instead of Paquin. True Blood would still be shit, but less shit. But fucking William Fichtner. Fichtner, whose played detectives, bosses, friends and assholes aplenty, kind of gets his moment here. Playing 'The Accountant' a repo men sent from hell to recapture Cage (don't ask) he's a joy from start to finish, playing one of those antagonist types a movie falls in love with about half way through and so bottle out of killing him. And good, because I think Fichtner is the only thing you could legitimately label as 'good' and not 'guilty pleasure' in Drive Angry. Billy Burke's cult leader villain, showed a side to that guy he's rarely got to show, that he can actually act at all. He's pretty good and this is a long way from Bella Swan's dad in Twilight.

But come on, this is obviously still a piece of crap. Obviously. But the southern setting and the Fichtner lend the film a vibrancy that it goes about its action horror cliches with that make everything somehow OK. And to be clear, this is a movie where Nic Cage has a slow-motion gunfight on top of a naked woman to the sound of The Raveonettes ' You Want The Candy' so, you know. But one gets the sense that this is pretty much the best incarnation of Drive Angry that there could have ever been, and how often can you say that shit.

Rating: 6/10

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