Drive Angry begins with a shot of a muscle car driving out of hell. It ends with a shot of Nicholas Cage drinking Simpler Times, (a beer that costs 2.99 for a six pack, is seven percent alcohol and contains turpentine) out of the skull of a vanquished enemy. That’s all you need to know.
Brimming with Bad Taste and Cheap Thrills Drive Angry is everything you’d ever want in a B-Movie and I mean that literally. There is gore, mayhem, nudity, muscle cars, and Tom Atkins. And Brother if that’s not a recipe for a good weekend in Vegas I don’t know what is.
Drive Angry starts its mission of mayhem with Nicholas Cage killing a carful of hillbillies with a shotgun. The first of many. It turns out that these are no ordinary unpleasant crackers, but are indeed Satanists. What comes next is a reverse Race With The Devil (and in a sequence built around a chase with a Winnebego a nice homage is paid to it’s fore father) with Cage as hellhound on their trail. Cage at this point has reached a kind of sereneness when he sails over the top in these movies. Like an Olympic Pole Vaulter clearing an ant hill. He has a sex gunfight that puts the sex gunfight in Last Man Standing to shame. And he never so much as raises an eyebrow during it.
He picks up Amber Heard on the way, who I can’t say I’m familiar with, knowing her only as the lead of John Carpenter’s upcoming The Ward. All I can say is that if Carpenter turns her into anything less then a female Snake Plissken in that thing I’ll feel an opportunity has been lost. Heard may look like a Maxim Covergirl, but there’s none of the dead eyed vacancy you get with that type. She has real spirit and a sense of fun and the best thing I can say about her performance is that I look forward to seeing her again in a movie, and not for the reasons that the casting directors so obviously hope for.
Rounding out the cast (excluding Tom Atkins in the Michael Parks role, who in his two scene cameo has more fun then he’s had for years up on the big screen) is William Fichtner, at this point all but possessed by the premature ghost of Christopher Walken. He’s The Accountant, the demon tasked with bringing Cage back to hell and he gets all the best lines (“This is a symbol of our pact with Satan.” “Pact? Really? Funny he’s never mentioned you.”) It’s all in the way Fichtner plays it as perpetually amused, never more then slightly put out no matter how vast the chaos around him is.
I say chaos both with admiring approval and without hyperbole. So hat’s off to Patrick Lussier who orchestrated this madness. Others enjoyed his My Bloody Valentine. I rank it among the worst horror films I’ve ever seen. Drive Angry is exactly the trashy thrill ride that last film was supposed to be. I eagerly await whatever comes next.
It’s an exercise in the outer limits of Bad Taste. It’s filled from end to end with mayhem. It’s more of a sequel to Grindhouse then Machete was. And it left me with a big sloppy grin on my face from the first shot to the last. I doubt I will have more fun at a theater this year. I cannot recommend that you see this highly enough.