Drive Angry 3D Travels Far from Heaven
- Monday, February 28, 2011
DVD Release Date: May 31, 2011
Theatrical Release Date: February 25, 2011
Rating: R (for strong brutal violence throughout, grisly images, some graphic sexual content, nudity and pervasive language)
Run Time: 104 min.
Director: Patrick Lussier
Actors: Nicolas Cage, Amber Heard, William Fichtner, Billy Burke, David Morse, Todd Farmer, Christa Campbell, Charlotte Ross, Jack McGee
Here are the top three reasons for reading this review:
You're a Nicolas Cage fan and want to know more about his latest movie.You mistakenly think the movie is yet another entry in the Fast and the Furious franchise, with Cage taking on the Vin Diesel role.
You can't believe a Christian website would bother reviewing Drive Angry 3D, based on what you've heard about the film or seen in the ads for it. You're curious and want to know more.
Three possible reasons for reading this review. That's three more reasons than anyone might have for actually sitting through this movie. Let's begin by going over the plot, such as it is.
Drive Angry 3D is a preposterous, over the top story about a man named John Milton (Cage) who's searching for a baby, his grandchild. The man who has the baby is a cult leader, Jonah King (Billy Burke), who thinks he's some sort of messiah. He's doing the devil's work, which will culminate with a child sacrifice—unless Milton gets there first.
Joining Milton in this high-stakes chase is Piper (Amber Heard), a waitress looking to escape her sleazy boss and find some greater purpose in life than serving another "She's a Brickhouse" breakfast to patrons.
Drive Angry 3D is full of lowlifes and down-on-their-luck characters, but it also includes the Accountant (William Fichtner), a dappery dressed fellow who's pursuing Milton. He has a cool demeanor and the unusual ability to sniff out—literally—where Milton has been. When he encounters a obstacle to his pursuit, he takes a moment to flip a coin before eliminating the nuisance. (After this film and Anton Chigurh's wagers in No Country for Old Men, coin flips have become cinema's most ominous foretelling of fury.)
It soon becomes clear that the dialogue about how "hell's gonna walk the earth" is more than metaphorical, although the movie takes its spirituality about as seriously as it takes its male-female relationships or anything else. In the film, hell is a place from which people can escape when the big boss isn't looking, and/or when they've got unfinished business on earth to tend to. In other words, it's mainly a vehicle for action, danger and mayhem—not theological contemplation.
With such silliness throughout the screenplay co-written by director Patrick Lussier and Todd Farmer (My Bloody Valentine) , it's surprising whenever a moment of sincerity or truth escapes a character's lips, as when Piper gives her views on devil worship. ("They freak me … out. Once you open those doors, you just can't close them.")
Note the ellipsis in that dialogue, which had to be edited to be made fit to print in this review. Drive Angry 3D is chock-a-block with foul language. It also has lots of female nudity and extended sex scenes, and, of course, scene after scene of horrendous violence. That the movie refuses to take any of this seriously is no excuse for the extent of the graphic content, filmed in 3D (as the title indicates) to add extra, ummm, dimension to a film with cartoon characters, cartoon violence and cartoon sexuality.
But there's nothing more offensive about Drive Angry 3D than the thought of paying the inflated ticket prices to see the film in all three lurid dimensions. This is the stuff of late-night TV—a viewing experience that takes only your time, and, with the help of TV editing, maybe a little bit less of your conscience.
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