Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Drive Angry - ***

Drive Angry is a quick redemption for Nicolas Cage from the more-horrible-than-you-can-imagine Season of the Witch, which was released about one month prior. It's all of the awful ridiculousness you hope for in a non-legitimately-great Cage film, all of the silly fun you used to get out of such an in-between Cage film, back before people associated him with pure shit, which really isn't fair, even after garbage like Bangkok Dangerous or The Wicker Man, back when his "in-betweeners" were more like National Treasure or The Rock. Pure, unabashed fun, with no point or reason for existing other than entertainment, Drive Angry has the goods.

Drive Angry is essentially what Grindhouse and Machete and anything like that released in the last few years was trying to be, except it succeeds. It features a lot of the same things as those films, hot girls, fast cars, crazy weapons and extreme violence, so why is it better? Because, unlike those films, it's not trying to be cute. It's completely sincere in its mayhem. There's no winking at the camera, the images weren't made to look grainy and scratched in post-production, and I actually get the sense that the filmmakers think what they are doing is legitimately cool, not just kitschy and ironic. It takes a particular combination of talent and lack-thereof to pull off this kind of film, and I'm sorry to say, but Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez are simply too talented to waste their time trying (though "too talented" doesn't account for Inglorious Basturds (or however the fuck it's not spelled)).

So what is Drive Angry? Well, Cage breaks out from Hell, steals the "God-killer" from Satan, which is a big gun that blasts any living thing, divine or not, into nothingness (but for reasons unknown only comes with three bullets), teams up with Amber Heard on a road-trip to track down the leader of a Satanic cult, who intends to sacrifice Cage's new-born granddaughter after raping and killing his daughter, all while being chased by the Devil's Accountant, played to brilliance by William Fichtner (watch for the greatest delivery of "Come here, fat fuck" you could ever hope to see). And it delivers on everything that description promises, which includes a fist-fight in the midst of a gunfight inside of an RV that is in the middle of a ten-minute-long car chase. Among other things. It'll certainly do until Cage's next Bad Lieutenant.

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