Starring: Nicolas Cage, Amber Heard, William Fichtner, Billy Burke, David Morse, Katy Mixon
Director: Patrick Lussier
Writer(s): Todd Farmer, Patrick Lussier
Cinematography: Brian Pearson
Original Score: Michael Wandmacher
Running Time: 104 Mins.
Director Patrick Lussier last gave us the cinematic delight known as My Bloody Valentine, it was a film that managed to be trashy yet mildly entertaining though what it did do quite well was take the 3D aspect of the film back to its Horror roots with blood, blades and boobs thrust out the screen upon us…if I’m seeing a 3D film I’d rather enjoy it as this kind of OTT gimmick than to “give depth” as Cameron harps on about, and as every bug budget film currently under production is falling over itself to give us that Avatar “depth” (read blurred and muted picture) I would take a 3D exploitation film over that any day of the week.
Which would go someway t suggesting why I had hopes for Drive Angry 3D, not high hopes mind you just hopes that it would be thorough;y trashy in a good way, a film that would see Lussier build on those Grindhouse style foundations he set in motion with My Bloody Valentine. After all he hired Cage (and the wig) to play an avenging father who has broken out of hell to track down the cult villains whilst being pursued by the devils accountant and accompanied by a white trash hottie in the form of Amber Heard. If this reads like a checklist for a fun Friday night at the cinema we’re on the same wavelength…though leave it to Lussier to bungle seemingly idiot proof elements and give Cage yet another bland mis-step.
If ever a film called for Cage to be all bulging eyed and shouty, this would be it, imagine his Bad Lieutenant character in this scenario and you would be half way to an entertaining if not a good film, alas this is the sleep-walking comatose Cage last seen in the equally risible Season of the Witch, it is a shocking error on Cage’s part and maybe Lussier just wasn’t up to the job of pulling a good turn from the lazy actor, but ether way this was Cage’s film for the taking…and he blows it, worse than being bad he is sown-right snooze-worthy.
Thankfully Amber Heard and William Fichtner offer some value for money, Fichtner as The Accountant is all Christopher Walken style sarcasm and serpentine menace, pursuing Cage and turning up just as you are about to nod off he provides the saviour of the film and along with the rather stunning eye candy of Heard makes this just about worth staying awake for. More than just a gorgeous girl however Heard has sass to spare, and is a kick-ass heroine, she seems considerably more invested in and concerned about Cage’s quest than he ever does, which quite frankly speaks volumes about who is acting and who is simply drawling out lines for the pay cheque.
Lest we not forget this was never really meant to be about the acting, or overacting, but rather the Grindhouse elements, it has the plot down pat and for each element that it just about gets right, the nasty comical violence, the absurd nudity, it gets far more wrong and that includes the huge faux pas of making a hash of the car chases. For a film called Drive Angry 3D you’d expect at least value for money in that department, but no, they are few and far between with only one vehicular mash-up being anything more than pedestrian. It would have been more fun if it were called Walk Angry, a title that would have been more appropriate given the overall pace! To end on a slightly less damning note, the 3D is fair and manages to keep in the trashy realms, blood, boobs and explosions aplenty although not one of those make a lasting impression or get the pulse racing in the moment…all of which adds up to something of a big fail.
Drive Angry 3D should have been great fun and given us cheap thrills aplenty, it’s not and it doesn’t. Everything is bungled to the point of being simply mundane, meaning it is left to the combined talents of Amber Heard and the under-rated William Fichtner to provide any entertainment beyond the gimmick of 3D.