LocationAMC Northpark 8687 N. Central Expy. Dallas, TX 75225
DatesOpens Feb 25
Surprise! Nicolas Cage drives like a bat out of hell in Drive Angry — a bizarre, ridiculous, and ultimately dull B-movie about an incensed father chasing down the cult leaders who killed his daughter. Cage is Milton, a bedraggled, long-haired bad ass whom we meet when he acrobatically eliminates three unnamed bad guys (we assume) by shooting, punching, and kicking them, but also managing to magically make their car take a laws-of-physics-defying aerial somersault, while delivering a few shotgun blasts of bad-ass action movie dialogue in the process.
Flipping cars and awful, instant-classic one-liners (“I’m not going to have a beer until I can drink it out of his skull,” “I’m going to beat you with all that’s left of your daughter”) are the gasoline that fuel this high speed action-porn, which ultimately isn’t fast or furious enough to provoke its intended action-arousal. The ingredients are there: oversized bad guys, good guy with a bad streak, befuddled cops, explosions, and a hard-bodied female co-star.
Milton is chasing down a cult leader, Jonah King (Billy Burke), who killed his daughter and stole his daughter’s baby. King is an armed man with a messiah complex who has gathered a dedicated army of Satanists. The goal is to unleash hell on the earth by sacrificing Milton’s granddaughter under a full moon (spooky!).
It’s a campy setup supported by no shortage of campy schlock, the absurdity of which almost (almost) manages to raise Drive Angry to Mystery Science Theater-style fun. Jonah King is a bad dude. Not only does he force Milton’s daughter to perform oral sex on him, but he then steals her baby (her baby for goodness sake), and then cuts her throat — and if that wasn’t enough — he drinks her blood. We’re convinced, but later his villainy is magnified even further: King walks around with Milton’s daughter’s femur — yes, the leg bone — using it to beat Milton. Over-the-top somehow falls short of describing this buffoonery.
In addition to chasing, Milton is being chased, by a mysterious X Files extra who calls himself “The Accountant” (William Fichtner). The Accountant is as supernaturally bad ass as Milton, and as they shoot and are shot, punch and take punches, doling out whoop-ass and taking it in stride, their resilience makes us begin to suspect there is more going on here than a simple seek-and-destroy car chase movie. It is this mystery (if you could call it that) that creaks the brain into some modicum of activity during the movie’s first 40 minutes of numbing action.
Along the way Milton meets Piper (Amber Heard), the requisite diner waitress in cut-off jean shorts who can throw a mean punch herself. She accompanies Milton on his chase in a sort of eye candy/surrogate daughter role. No romance here, that’s saved for Cage’s acrobatic sex scene with Candy (Charlotte Ross), during which he manages to blow away a half-dozen bad guys while still doing the deed. Erotic violence has scarcely been realized in more literal fashion.