For those who are fans of fantasy/action flicks that deal with heaven and hell, yours truly could sum up Drive Angry 3D with one sentence. The 104 minute presentation is the blending of the stories and characters from The Prophecy and Constantine, with a splash of Robert Rodriguez’s signature action sequences found in Desperado and/or Machete. For these said fans, the only other aspect you’ll need to know is that horror director Patrick Lussier (My Bloody Valentine) is a suitable choice to helm this B-movie satire.
Now for everyone else out there, here’s what you’re getting in this blood-soaked, cheesy dialogue R-rated tale. That just goes with it.
John Milton (Nicholas Cage climbing out of debt) is dressed like Johnny Cash and drives a classic muscle car. He’s hot on the trail of a wanted cult leader named Jonah King (Billy Burke). Jonah has committed horrible crimes against Milton’s kin, all in the name of bringing hell on earth. As John inches across southern states, he comes across a strikingly gorgeous waitress in Piper (Amber Heard). Besides the good looks, this girl has an attitude, and is ready to throw down with anyone who fails to respect her. Milton chooses Piper to accompany him on his journey to track down Jonah. Since she has nothing else going for, she feels there’s no harm in letting him tag along in her badass muscle car.
While the mismatched duo stop-off at a dive motel, Jonah decides to come looking for Milton and brings his cult followers along. Milton is all but ready and easily takes out the entire lynch mob. However, he takes a few bullets but his injuries do not seem to slow him down. Piper begins to see more instances like this and wonders why Milton never goes into much detail about his past. And how is he still breathing. All he really gives her – and the audience – is that he “escaped from prison.” Things get stranger, as a well dressed man is literally sniffing out their trail. Simply going by The Accountant (William Fichtner), he desperately wants to find Milton and “bring him back.” Although our presentable Accountant isn’t big on dialogue, he’ll be happy to tell the people he runs into, when he’ll be seeing them next.
Eventually, all three parties come together – each with their own agenda – and a bloody, revved-up war takes place. Complete with decapitations, gunfire, numerous car chases and plenty of naked women.
Let it be known, that this reviewer went into this screening not having a clue what this flick was about. Seemed like it was just going to be just another revenge tale with a jaded anti-hero who knows how to drive and blow crap up. To a certain extent it is. But with the added good and evil supernatural angle tossed in, the story becomes more intriguing. Slowly all three characters’ (Jonah, Milton, Accountant) backgrounds are reveled. The pacing of this revelation is handled exceptionally well. Which is the hook that will keep the audience engaged during all the shenanigans that resemble something out of a dark comic book.
Knowing that the flick was doing all the “cheesy” one-liners and gratuitous violence on purpose (I hope), it still doesn’t make up for the lack of innovation in a few action sequences, and how it failed to execute simple movie mechanics. Especially in the continuity department. Amber Heard – who gave a rockin’ performance – is constantly getting her beautiful booty kicked all over the place. Yet that face of her never carries a scratch for more than a minute. Meanwhile, Nic Cage is getting blasted through the face and plenty of make-up is applied to “sell” the injury. Call it a pet-peeve, but it does not make sense when the invincible are showing more scars than the mortals. All this shows is laziness in certain departments.
And people will cite the unbelievable because of this. Like how Cage can manage to kill five people while still pleasuring a woman and swigging some whiskey. In this case, try not to look at this as a fault. The flick is having fun people and our good director is winking at you the entire time when these scenarios play out. If you think about though, they actually make sense for some of the characters are not depicted as mere mortals as already mentioned. Granted though, during the climatic portion of the script – where the story and dialogue try to summarize what is going on – the flick begins to loose control and it definitely isn’t a concise or clear rationale. One will “get it” but it will be after you walk out of the theater and think about it. Which is an act you shouldn’t have to do. Even though the flick struggles only a couple times, it is at the part where a director should never allow it to struggle…The ending.
Overall, Drive Angry 3D is mainly for a niche group of people that have been entertained by the above mentioned titles found in the first paragraph. For the rest of the world who needs substance and rationale, this will drive you to anger by the third act. The 3D serves a purpose, but it doesn’t make or break the flick. Those looking for some interesting characters and mindless violence involving automobiles and some killer shotguns, take this baby for a test drive. You may end up “buying” it.
RATING: 3.5 out of 5