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Mar 9, 2011

Fletch's Film Review: Drive Angry

There's a school of thought that goes something like this: "Dude, you can't nitpick Drive Angry! You ought to know what you're getting in to when to sit down to watch it!" Basically, that there are films that are so bad that to delve into and analyze them is some sort of exercise reserved for the type of anal-retentive douchebags who have nothing better to do with their time than to point out typos in peoples' Twitter updates.

No. I don't think so. Sounds a whole hell of a lot like circular logic to me: I'll consciously make a movie that's so shitty that for you to criticize it makes you the idiot. How convenient.

Drive Angry makes the films of Michael Bay look like The King's Speech: polished character studies. If you're looking for 3D breasts and muscle cars traveling down a highway at 55 miles per hour (but meant to be much faster, of course), then I suppose you could do worse with your film dollars. But if you're looking for any semblance of narrative, characters thicker than the Grim Reaper's scythe or anything resembling conflict or drama, run like hell.

Now, you could argue that I'm an idiot for expecting anything better than shit out of a Nic Cage movie, and you'd likely be right. But, as is no secret these days, Cage is more than capable of entertaining in ways that go beyond being a respected actor; as he's shown time and again, his over-the-top antics can more than suffice in raising the enjoyment of even the worst material. No such luck here. Brendan Fraser really lost out on a great nemesis in Cage - as he demonstrates in Drive Angry, Nic would make for a compelling mummy. He walks stiltedly, mumbles unintelligibly and is already, well, dead. Slap some Ace bandages on the guy and he'd be a dead ringer for Arnold Vosloo. Then again, that might be a slap in the face to Vosloo - he actually showed signs of life in the role. Cage has one 'emotion' in Drive Angry: morose.

Thank God, then, that William Fichtner was added to the cast as The Accountant. Though the purpose of his character, like that of the film, turns out to be pretty pointless, he brings much-needed verve and energy to the flick any time he turns up onscreen. Would that I could say the same thing for David Morse, who always brings a touch of class to the table, but his role is so insignificant, it very well could have been played by "random 55-year old guy on the street" - much like Fichtner himself in The Dark Knight, you have to wonder why they bother to get solid character actors only to use them such a limited amount of time.

But I guess Drive Angry has bigger problems on its hands and was too busy hammering out the logistics of having scrap metal fly at the screen (in 3-D!) to worry about such trivial matters.

Fletch's Film Rating:
Expectation:
"Darn tootin." (Largely due to some overhyping from people that won't be named. It was maybe a "Decent Fellow" prior to that.)
Reality:
"Whatever." (It only misses a "Painful" rating thanks to Fichtner.)
LAMBScore:
Large Association of Movie Blogs


15 people have chosen wisely: on "Fletch's Film Review: Drive Angry"

Alex said...

Um... I respect your opinion and everything but this movie is totally awesome! Stupid and misguided and nonsensical, definitely, but fun and entertaining for me. William Fichtner is definitely the best part, you're right.

Sebastian Gutierrez said...

GOD DAMN IT!!! I AM SO CONFUSED RIGHT NOW!!!

Guess if I see it, it'll be because I took one too many blows to the head (college, you know), or because of Fichtner. But, I never really had any interest in the first place. What to do? What to do?

Who Is Afraid of Alfred Hitchcock? said...

Hi! Fletch...
Hmmm...I wonder what happen to Nicholas Cage?!? Well, I use to think he was good actor, but lately, he have been either shouting or pretending to be extremely angry in almost all his roles...Go figure! Great Genes too!
deedee ;-/

blake said...

I was really jonesing for a movie the other day, but I've seen EVERYTHING worth seeing. So it came down to Drive Angry or Unknown. I picked Unknown, and it seems like I made the right choice.

It's the most fun to tear apart the worst movies.

Jack L said...

This does look horrible but I'll probably end up seeing it anyway, I just can't say no when it comes to Nic Cage...
I suppose it will be good enough to have a laugh over with some friends, I'm not expecting much though...

Fletch said...

Alex - To each their own - I know there are many out there that feel like you. My question for you then is this: what exactly was entertaining about DA? Was it the car chases? Billy Burke? Basically, anything aside from Fichtner? Because the rest of it pretty much bored the hell out of me.

Seb - Not sure what to tell you (I mean, aside from telling you that it's bad). If your curiosity must be satiated...just don't say you haven't been warned if you end up unhappy like me. And if not, then win for you.

DeeDee - Yes, we all wonder what happened to Nic Cage. Ego, greed, vanity...pick one or more - that's a good start.

Blake - The funny thing is, I didn't even do all that much tearing here. There are quite a few things in DA that I could say "Well, explain this to me then...," but I guess it just seems like a waste of time to me. But I'll debate 'em with Nick or anyone else who wishes to...

Jack - I wish it had enough material to laugh over. Hell, you could say that that's maybe all I wanted.

Thaddeus said...

Y'know, I write so many reviews, and I try to lovingly cover Bergman and Hitchcock, but I'll admit that I loved Tango & Cash. It's so good that it's bad, and all the way through.

But I can't say the same for The Wicker Man remake or Gone in 60 Seconds. Even putting aside my brain, they weren't entertaining - not even "so bad" that they were enjoyable.

Long ago, I figured out the change in Cage that took him from "cool" to "oh": he looks constipated all the time. That's pretty much his acting style, and it kicked in just before Leaving Los Vegas and it never left. The look on his face makes you think that he desperately needs a laxative or some roughage. He can still play zany or neurotic, but he so often goes back to that same tired expression...

I think that Cage, like Stallone, needs to start taking support roles in movies. It might downplay the flaws in his current technique. And give him a chance to act without carrying a whole picture.

Nick said...

Of course you know I utterly and completely disagree with you on a cellular level.

Fletch said...

@ Thaddeus - Well, I'm definitely with you on Gone in 60 Seconds - saw it once long ago, didn't enjoy it, and have no desire to go back to it ever. But Wicker Man? That thing's gold! It's the quintessential Patented Awful Nic Cage performance!

I love love love your theory. Bound to be some truth there. And yea, he would probably excel at supporting roles...especially when you consider that that's really what he started as, a great character actor. It was only when he got to thinking that he was a hunky leading man that he got into trouble.

@ Nick - Okay, but why? What was so good about it? (And yes, I'll re-read your review.)

Nick said...

The action was over-the-top fun. Nic Cage playing it mellow made certain scenes even greater (like the having-sex-while-killing-people scene). Amber Heard was badass and not your typical damsel in distress. Billy Burke was kooky with his southern accent and Hell-on-Earth mission for no apparent reason. The police captain was just hilarious. And, of course, Fichtner was outstanding and so smooth.

And there's just so much more. I just felt the whole experience of the movie was a total blast from start to finish.

Andy the Time Lord said...

"Drive Angry makes the films of Michael Bay look like The King's Speech: polished character studies."

One of my favorite lines from any review I have read. Kudos.

Personally, I'm torn. I want to see it, but my curiosity can be held in place until the 2D DVD. Still, it's nice to see so many different perspectives on DRIVE ANGRY instead of the singular "it was fun!" POV.

Fletch said...

@ Nick - the sex/action scene was fun, but I might think more highly of it had almost the same scene not been done before in Shoot 'Em Up. Amber Heard was badass? She was a fucking waitress - I couldn't go along with any of it. Burke was kinda interesting, but flat as hell. The sheriff - eh.

Basically, we ain't never agreeing on this movie. Well, not until you come to your senses, anyway. ;)

@ Andy - Alright - thanks! I will grant that DA actually employs the right aspects of 3D, though even its uses get repetitive after a while. There are only so many times I can see shrapnel flying at me and think it cool. But if you were planning on seeing it (which I would obviously not advise), I would advise that you see it in 3D.

Avanano said...

I used to think Cage would never fail my expectation, but it changed now. All the good roles he played past can not justify his role in Drive Angry..

Mrs. Thuro's Mom said...

I haven't seen it. The only reason I wanted to is because I love William Fichtner. I thought I was the only one. Glad to know that's not the case!

Fletch said...

Avanano - Welcome! Sadly for me, Cage failed my expectations long, long ago. But you're right on about his role here. It's a groaner.

Mrs. Thuro's Mom - Hi Monica (if I may call you that)!

Oh no, I know plenty of folks that love Mr. Fichtner. The guy needs a marquee role already. I've known about him since I was a kid, when my mom watched As The World Turns.