Drive Angry (Blu-ray)

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Rating: R

Starring:
Nicholas Cage as John Milton
Amber Heard as Piper
William Fichtner as The Accountant
Billy Burke as Jonah King
David Morse as Webster
Todd Farmer as Frank
Christa Campbell as Mona
Charlotte Ross as Candy
Tom Atkins as Cap
Jack McGee as Fat Lou
Katy Mixon as Norma Jean

Directed by Patrick Lussier

Special Features:
Access: Drive Angry – activate dynamic “scene specific” features including interviews with cast and filmmakers, track the body count in Milton’s Mayhem, and more

Audio Commentary with Filmmakers Patrick Lussier and Todd Farmer

Deleted Scenes with Filmmaker Commentary

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.78:1)
DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Sound
Spanish Language
Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 105 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

“In the high octane action adventure ‘Drive Angry,’ Nicolas Cage stars as an undead felon who breaks out of hell to avenge his murdered daughter and rescue her kidnapped baby from a band of cult worshipping savages. Joined by tough as nails Piper (Amber Heard) the two set off on a rampage of redemption all while being pursued by an enigmatic killer (William Fichtner) who has been sent by the Devil to retrieve Milton and deliver him back to hell.”

“Drive Angry” is rated R for strong brutal violence throughout, grisly images, some graphic sexual content, nudity and pervasive language.

Mini-Review:
If you go into this movie expecting a B-Movie or grindhouse film, then you’ll probably enjoy it. To say this movie is over the top is an understatement. Milton (Get it? ‘Paradise Lost’?) blows limbs off of people and they shoot out of the screen. He gets into a gun battle in the middle of having sex with a waitress. Cars flip in ways that defy physics, women inexplicably kiss Milton, guns never need to be reloaded, and the villains are redneck Satanists. It’s just absurd in every sense of the word. The last movie I saw that was this over the top was “Inglorious Basterds.”

The problem with “Drive Angry” is that it doesn’t maintain that over-the-top feel through the entire film. There are parts of it that are dramatic enough that you start to think you’re watching a serious movie. A lot of the supporting cast is quite good, too. When David Morse appears as Webster, he’s good enough that the movie goes from schlock to legitimacy. The end result is a movie that never quite settles into the right tone. And the big final showdown is downright conventional and unimaginative compared to the first third of the film.

Nicolas Cage can be really good and really bad in his movies. As John Milton, he’s both. The idea of a grandfather escaping from hell to save his granddaughter is pretty cool. But as you see Cage deliver ultra-cheesy lines and shooting guns while fully clothed and rolling around with a naked woman, you can’t help but think this may be one of his career lows. On the other hand, Amber Heard is memorable as Piper. She’s tough, has attitude, and is easy on the eyes. She manages to maintain her dignity in this B-movie. I’ll be interested to see how she performs in other movies with better scripts. William Fichtner is probably the main standout as The Accountant. You don’t know whether to cheer for him or against him. He plays his role completely straight and it’s appropriate for this movie.

This movie was originally intended for 3D theatrical presentation, but at home on a regular HDTV it’s not quite as effective. As things fly out of the screen, they look particularly fake or CG. And some of the CG cars and trucks that get blown up are poor CG replacements, too. “Drive Angry” loses a bit of its edge without the 3D gimmick.

I imagine that when this DVD is released, you’ll see a bunch of people lining up at the Redbox to rent it and they’ll think they are getting a straightforward action movie. And I imagine they’re going to get quite a surprise when they pop it in the players and see just how overloaded it is with sex, violence, profanity, and cheese. Some people are going to love it and some people will be repulsed by it. You have been warned. I think if you liked “Grindhouse” or “Shoot ‘Em Up” or “Inglorious Basterds,” then this will be for you. Otherwise steer clear of “Drive Angry.”

The bonus features on this Blu-ray are a tad minimal. You’ll find an audio commentary and some deleted scenes. You can also watch “Access: Drive Angry.” It kicks in as you play the movie and does things like show a body count as Milton kills people, kick off featurettes, and other things. It’s kind of a hassle to go through this feature if you only want to watch the featurettes.

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