BLU-RAY REVIEW: Drive Angry
Nicolas Cage rises from the grave in this bullet-riddled, grind house-style film...
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Nicolas Cage is the king of ridiculous action films and, like Val Kilmer, one of my all-time favorites when it comes to pure, mindless fun. Whether it's Con Air, The Rock, Face/Off or the Bangkok Dangerous remake, Cage somehow makes it possible to enjoy the most over-the-top action films of yesteryear.
Thus, when I heard he'd be staring in director Patrick Lussier's Drive Angry, I set my expectations low and waited to find myself on a ride that was pure-adrenaline, explosion-filled, bullet-riddled action. I wasn't disappointed. Now, those looking to add this over-the-top supernatural tale of murder, deceit, anger and revenge to their home video collection can pick it up on blu-ray 3-D, blu-ray and DVD home video.
First let me say Cage staring in Drive Angry simply makes sense. An homage to 70s action films that included hard, angry men; sexy, voluptuous women; and fast cars, Drive Angry makes for a perfect platform on which to showcase Cage, the aged, angry, lonesome granddaddy of modern action movies. It's no surprise the actor is these days looking for redemption (and a payday) wherever it might come. While Drive Angry might not be the blockbuster films Cage made years ago, it's still an enjoyable - if not crass, crude, and vulgar - display of modern cinema.
Milton (Cage) is a man on a mission of vengeance. After escaping from captivity, the former-trucker-turned-vigilante is looking to rescue his grandchild from the devil worshiping cult leader who killed his daughter and plans to use his kin to bring about the end of the world. Enter Piper (the sexy Amber Heard) and her 1969 Charger which Milton needs to make haste to his final destination. And let's not forget the mysterious, heavily armed and super-dangerous killer (William Fichtner) who's after Milton, seeking to recapture the escapee. While cryptic at times and somewhat misunderstood, the suggestive plot and teasers throughout the first half of the film help establish an unorthodox story that's both slasher film, horror, suspense, action and - at times - comedy.
The word "excess" comes to mind immediately when thinking of Drive Angry. Everything you've seen in an action film is taken to the maximum setting and then given a nitro boost to put it well and truly over the top. Everything from a mid-coitus shootout to a high-flying car chase is given center stage attention, again reminding viewers of the film's roots in 70s exploitation films focusing on graphic violence, lurid sex and nudity, vulgar language and the like. Not for the faint of heart, Drive Angry will set your ears, eyes and soul on fire for its full 105 minutes. In fact, it's impressive the film was able to find a R rating considering the content.
The blu-ray features an awesome 1080p video transfer that'll impress home viewers with its sharp picture, contrast, and color. It flows with gorgeous movement, features deep darks, bright lights, and wonderful use of its 2D color. Likewise, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack fits every sense of the stereotypical action film soundtrack. The music, bullets, explosions, car engines, and curse words fill the speakers perfectly, ensuring (at a certain volume) everyone single person on your block knows what you're watching.
As for special features, features only a few, though they are solid in both their presentation and construction. An audio commentary with writer Todd Farmer and writer/director Patrick Lussier delves into the film's details, including the film's conception, shooting in 3D, locales, violence, cars, plot, Nicolas Cage and more. Well worth listening to for those who enjoy the film's over-the-top nature, the commentary does a good job of being engaging, entertaining, and informative. Two short deleted scenes are also included which provide little. The best and most in-depth special feature is the "Access: Drive Angry" Picture-in-Picture interactive feature which allows watchers to "track Milton's mayhem, view interviews with the cast and filmmakers, and enjoy trivia and facts" during the movie. Those who don't want to spend the time listening to the audio commentary but still want the lowdown on Drive Angry can easily use this feature to watch the film's evolution and creation at specific points in the film.
Considered a commercial flop (it grossed only $10 million on a $50 million budget), Drive Angry won't be making many "top ten" lists or finding much critic acclaim. That doesn't mean it's not an enjoyable, mindless, action-filled extravaganza of excess. If you're an action film fan who doesn't mind foul language, nudity, bullets by the belt, blood by the bucket, and an odd tale of supernatural intrigue and revenge, Drive Angry might be your newest guilty pleasure. It's not going to win any awards, but for those without a conscience, Drive Angry - without a single redemptive quality - is the best show in town.
Drive Angry is rated R for strong brutal violence throughout, grisly images, some graphic sexual content, nudity and pervasive language and is available on blu-ray 3D, blu-ray, and DVD now wherever fine home video is sold.
- Jess C. Horsley
"Until next time...have FUN with your figures!!"
Jess C. Horsley