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Mar 10, 2011

A spoilerific, nitpicky follow-up to the Drive Angry review

I couldn't find a good place for these in the review, but I wanted to bring to light my main issues with the latest Cage crapfest. Perhaps the lovers of the flick out there can enlighten me some, or vice-versa, though I imagine they'll just shrug them all off.


* Much like the Superman films (but even worse), there tends to be a lack of drama involved when it comes to light that the lead character is invincible. The gloriously named John Milton has escaped from hell. Ok, we think, he's mortal again, and The Accountant is sent to bring him back. The Accountant is just a pseudonym for the Grim Reaper, right, so we can assume he's going to kill him and be done with it? No dice. Milton, as it turns out, can not be killed. Which kinda makes every action scene with him instantly retarded, a la Neo fighting Agent Smith for 78 minutes during Matrix: Revolutions. Bo-ring.

* Yeah, the sex/action scene was great...the first time, when it was called Shoot Em Up.

* Why was the movie called Drive Angry again? The only concrete evidence is that it's the license plate of the car that's featured most often in the film - a car that was owned by Piper's cheating boyfriend, who happens to be mostly inconsequential to the main plot. Sure, there is a dude driving in this movie, but he's not so much angry as out of justice. And, as I said in my review, extremely morose. Methinks the real reason is that this film happens to feature three kickass muscle cars of yesteryear, and putting "Drive" in the title is a pathetic attempt to get all those gearheads out there interested in the movie. Not a big deal, just a head-scratcher for me.

* Sorry, why did they manage to get the awesome David Morse only to have him featured for about three minutes? I think I'm repeating that one, but it bugged me.

* Billy Burke's character is a satanic cult leader. He's wanted for murder, kidnapping, and god knows what else. At one point, he gets a hold of the baby and gets away, going to his hideout (this is after showing up at a bar in plain sight). His hideout is found by Cage and Piper. How? Well, they just drove along the highway until they saw a distinctively colored van parked in front of a church. Isn't this man highly sought after? Would he really be so stupid as to "hide out" by not hiding whatsoever?

* Late in the film, Milton has found the big bads' hideout and aims to ambush them along with the help of his waitress friend Piper. But wouldn't ya know it, right as he's about to get her to go in, the Accountant shows up and holds a gun to Piper's head. He wants Milton to return to him the magic shotgun, aka The Godslayer aka the only thing that can "kill" the Accountant. In return for doing so, he will spare Piper and Milton can commence with the ambushing. Milton agrees. Later on, when it looks as though Milton will fail in his task (not by dying, of course, but by being too late to save his granddaughter), the Accountant and/or Piper (sorry, I can't recall which) show up with the Godslayer to assist Milton in winning the day.

Now, what the fuck was the point of all that? We know that the Accountant has been tailing Milton all this time, so two things bother me. First, why stop the pursuit right when you have Milton? He gives a reasoning having to do with the Devil not liking when people sacrifice babies, but if that were the case, why didn't the Accountant just kill Billy Burke's character at any time he damn well pleased? But more importantly, why pop up right when Milton is there, only to hamper him (taking away his partner and mojo gun), only to re-appear at the last possible second? We all know that Milton would have happily gone back with the Accountant once his task was completed anyway, which already invalidates the chase, but this sequence of events makes the Accountant - only the best character in the movie by a country mile, utterly pointless.

I'm sure there's plenty more that I'm forgetting at the moment (or blocking from memory), but I think that's quite enough nitpicking for one day. Fire away...

10 people have chosen wisely: on "A spoilerific, nitpicky follow-up to the Drive Angry review"

Nick said...

WAY too nitpicky for a movie like this. You are WRONG, sir.

Jess said...

I do kind of like the fact that "John Milton" escaped from hell. Tickles my nerd bone.

Nick said...

Alrighty, for realz this time, yo:

1) Dude, he's dead... that's why he can't be killed. Duh. How is that not awesome? He's shot in the effing EYE and gets back up and keeps kicking ass. And I don't believe it's the Accountant's job to kill Milton. It's just to bring him back to Hell at all costs. So, it's not about Milton dying. It's about him losing whatever objective he's doing at the time. There's a difference.

2) The difference is that Shoot 'Em Up was blah. I knew I recognized the sex/action scene from somewhere, but I honestly couldn't remember from what. I'll always remember this one.

3) It's Drive Angry because there's a lot of driving, particularly of the muscle cars... and Milton is angry. He's on a mission, and he's pissed about what happened to his daughter and what might happen to his granddaughter. And the license plate, of course. *duh*

4) I don't see why these things always bug you. You complain a lot when awesome actors are given bit roles. Are they not allowed to take them, or what? I say, more power to them. Who cares?

5) I'll actually give you this one (the Billy Burke thing). It crossed my mind, too, how he was just walking in public without garnering any attention. My answer, though? Magic! No, hear me out. He's already into the occult and dark arts and whatnot, right? So who is to say he hasn't shown some skills and made himself to where people just don't see and/or fuck with him. He's just a smooth mofo and can pull that kinda shit off. But in the end, who the hell cares? In a movie where Cage drinks beer out of a skull, you're complaining about a hideout location?

6) I'm under the impression that The Accountant doesn't really *kill* people. It would be an imbalance to the nature of life and death. If you look at what his job title is--making sure and keeping account for all the souls in hell are there and stay there--he's not going to go around and add more while it isn't their time. That's why he would tell certain people that he'd see them soon or see them later in life, etc. So while The Accountant can't kill Burke, Milton surely can, and he lets him.

Now, he held Piper hostage to get the gun, because the gun is a sacred object (and he didn't want it to be used against him, of course). He needed the collateral in Piper so that he could make the deal with Milton and let them have a civil conversation instead of Milton just angrily blowing him away without question. He didn't need the Godslayer to kill Burke, so he just took that for safe keeping.

Now, while we DO know that Milton would have gone back with The Accountant, he might not necessarily have known that. It's his job to keep all the souls in Hell, and he has to do his job or... well... have Hell to pay. But during his chase, he learns more about what's going on and why Milton escaped, learning to respect his mission. And then, of course, the whole baby killing thing. It doesn't invalidate the chase or the character whatsoever.

Any more irrational nitpicks? :P

Fletch said...

@ Jess - No. It would be clever if it weren't so blatantly obvious.

@ Nick - Ok, here we go...

1. It's not awesome for this reason. The first time, when he's shot in the eye, it's ok. But immediately after that, all drama that may have resided regarding the danger that Milton himself may be in has been completely sucked out of the movie. Dudes shoot him - no biggie. Beat him with shovels - whatever. Who cares what happens to him when nothing can happen to him?

2. Ok, so you liked this one better. Doesn't make this one any less of a rip.

3. That's half my point on this one - he's never angry. If he had flipped out - something we all know Cage is infamous for - that'd be one thing. Instead, he's a fucking zombie...in more ways than one, it turns out.

4. I'm happy for Morse being gainfully employed. I'm sad that he's underused. My issue is: why get terrific actors only to not utilize them - it's a waste of valuable resources, and I just can't stand for that. Hire a nobody for a nobody role. Hell, give Morse the sheriff's role - that was meatier...

5. Haha - magic. But of course you would excuse it with magic.

6. "I'm under the impression that The Accountant doesn't really *kill* people." Guess you forgot about him totally killing Piper's ex...

The gun is a sacred object that Milton would have given back to the Accountant after the job was done.

"He needed the collateral in Piper so that he could make the deal with Milton and let them have a civil conversation instead of Milton just angrily blowing him away without question."

No - had the Accountant merely not shown up to hold Piper hostage, the shit would have gone down even smoother. It was an unnecessary complication that served no purpose other than to amp up the supposed stakes for a minute or two.

Are there some nitpicks here? Sure. Are they irrational? No, it's the movie that irrational. I'm just here to point out those irrationalities.

Jack L said...

Haha, this is hilarious!!
I generally avoid nitpicking terrible films as there is just so much to go through, it's always fun to do though.
Still one would think that if you hated this film so much you would want to forget about it and not keep coming back to it... Maybe it's growing on you after all, I mean it's seems to have left quite an impression ;)

Thaddeus said...

I think the real problem with movies like this is they involve a lot of money being spent - money that could go to job training for the homeless, or helping out victims of a crisis like Haiti or today's quake in Japan. Instead they spent millions of dollars on a movie, and they didn't even try to make it good.

The other real problem with movies like this is that they are written, directed, and acted by grown-ass adults. If this flawed genre piece was created from a contest/scholarship to help 14 year-old aspiring writers, then I'd be supportive of this a mess. I'd still be shocked that no one proofed it and tightened it up, but still...

Cage's work, more and more, is a nonstop senseless mess - like they needed an excuse to give him a paycheck, and any excuse would do...

Nick said...

1) I already explained why it doesn't matter that he can't die. You so crazy!

2) You so crazy!

3) I think the movie was better off that he did the smooth coolness than the flipping out. And I think he showed anger just fine. You so crazy!

4) I liked the sheriff as is! You so crazy!

5) Indeed. You so crazy (not to)!

6) I couldn't actually remember if he killed the ex or not. But maybe it was his time! You don't know... cuz you so crazy!

7) I still disagree with this. In the world of sacred objects, I'm sure he needed the gun back for divine (or unholy) reasons... like, it shouldn't exist on the mortal plane or something. You so crazy!

I don't know why I argue with such crazy people!


Kaiderman said...

OK. Forgive me because I've never asked about Dylan's Nic Cage thing. It started before we got to know one another. Is it that you hate Nic Cage or do you have a love/hate thing with him?
Love the Superman comparison!!!
Made a similar statement in the post I threw up today.

Fletch said...

@ Jack - haha, thanks - I'm glad this travesty has brought joy to someone (besides Nick).

As for the nitpicking and why I go about doing this (specifically for Nic Cage's films), see my response to Kai below).

@ Thaddeus - Idealistic as your theory is - and as much as I'd like to say "hell yeah," it's just such a pipe dream, and not just about bad movies. There's waste and greed anywhere you look, and it'll get worse before it gets better.

LOL at your other comment. If this had been made by teenagers, I would indeed be impressed. :)

The best news to come out of all this is that Cage's days of racking up big box office are just about over. Outside of the National Treasure series (and animated work, which I'm looking past), the guy hasn't exactly been on a hot streak. none of his last seven movies have made over $100 mil, and only two of those are over 50. His days of cashing big paychecks to make shitty movies are almost over, if not already.

@ Nick - whatever. I'm done wichou!

@ Kai - I guess you could say that, once upon a time, I was a fan. Back in the late 80s and early 90s, the guy was doing solid work as a quirky leading man. Raising Arizona, Red Rock West - these are great flicks. Then he decided that he was an action star and started with that. Then he started saying yes to every paycheck that came his way. He's a fucking hack, and what's worse is that, somewhere, somehow, he had talent. But he only shows it every 8th movie. So I love to hate him. He is my nemesis.

Paul Arrand Rodgers said...

The way I see it is that you either dig schlock like this or you don't, and neither side should fault the other. I dug it. I can't hate you for not being my clone.