Nicolas Cage, a name you can no longer trust with your entertainment dollar, plays Milton, a man who busts out of Hell with a purpose: to find cult leader Jonah King (Billy Burke) and get back what’s his. Milton is revealed to be quite the badass with a gun and has no qualms about going through whoever stands in his way. Although she has no idea what’s she’s getting herself into, a young woman named Piper (Amber Heard), a badass herself, befriends Milton and helps him with his mission as she leaves her life behind. The Devil also wants back what’s his and sends the Accountant (William Fichtner) to retrieve Milton and bring him back to Hell.
I thought Drive Angry had potential. The trailer looked so crazy, I thought it just might work, but it doesn’t. Obviously it’s not intended to be anything other than an action flick. Unfortunately, it’s the mindless variety rather than the entertaining one and is just a big, dopey mess. The only thing director Patrick Lussier’s film is successful at is creating long stretches of boredom. The characters are uninteresting, the dialogue forgettable, the plot filled with holes, and quite a number of the stunts and effects are ruined by the poor-looking CGI.
One perfect example of how weak the script is: the nonsensical shootout with Milton in coitus. Setting aside why a dead man would want sex, or why she’s totally nude and he slipped out just enough through his zipper, it was a bit of a hindrance trying to fight so many man in his hotel room with this woman attached.
The only element the movie appeared to have going for it was the 3-D effects, which the studio opted to forgo on the DVD release, which is too bad because it was shot in 3-D instead of having been done in post production. You can tell watching it there were some good effects as objects fly at the screen. There were even a couple of moments of intentional laughs and thrills, but not enough to sustain throughout the picture.
The DVD comes with a commentary track by co-writers Lussier, who is suffering from laryngitis, and Todd Farmer (also bad in front of the camera as Piper’s boyfriend Frank), who may well as have been, as this was one of the few times I found myself with zero interest in listening to the creators. In part, it’s because they are a bit of a turnoff with how infatuated they are with the movie. It’s obvious they made it for themselves, normally great advice, but not here as the result clearly indicates. I wonder if the track was recorded before the poor box office numbers came in, though I doubt that would matter to them since they come off a tad insufferable with talk of things like how great Nic is with the things he came up with for the character like facial tics and how they were going for a High Plains Drifter-feel, which startled me when I heard it.
”How To: Drive Angry” (18 min) either shows crew and cast members performing in this extra or they really have no idea how bad the film is, even after seeing it, which seems bizarre. First, they talk about the 3D effects, which is an utter waste since they didn’t bother to offer it to DVD buyers. Lussier again comes off way too impressed with himself. “Milton’s Mayhem” (9 min) is a silly feature that tracks and scores all the damage Milton does throughout the movie. There are two Deleted Scenes with Filmmaker Commentary coming in at a combined grand total of 1:35. While they are the only two scenes shot that didn’t make the film, it still makes little sense to have bothered to include them, but then that’s probably my fault to still be looking for things to make sense.
I honestly hope there’s someone besides Lussier and Farmer who like Drive Angry because I found very little to enjoy and expect most people will be driven angry they wasted their time on it.