There are lots of reasons why I wanted to see Drive Angry 3D – my appreciation of muscle cars, my enjoyment of cheeky, bloody, horror romps and my developing fascination for Nicolas Cage – particularly Nicolas Cage in a cheeky, bloody, horror romp involving muscle cars. I was not disappointed.
I should start this review of Drive Angry 3D with a little bit of a preface. Just a few years ago I had no liking for Nicolas Cage whatsoever. I could not understand why anyone would want to spend 8, 9, 10 pounds on watching a film led, heaven knows why, by Nicolas Cage. However, I may have been slow to fall but now I have come to realise that Nic Cage may be quite possibly the coolest actor currently appearing on the silver screen. On second thoughts… cooler than that.
Now I’ve got that out of the way, on with the review. Drive Angry 3D tells the tale of the avenging fallen, escaped from hell, who searches for the living devil, Jonah (Billy Burke), who stole his newborn granddaughter and murdered his daughter – and kept her femur for his walking stick. Nice touch. Along the way, John Milton (Cage) is helped by feisty Piper (Amber Heard) who is looking for a purpose (especially after she discovers her fiance screwing someone naked). And helping an escapee from hell save his granddaughter from a devil-worshipping, medallion-wearing, furry-chested madman fits the bill perfectly.
And did I mention that all and sundry are pursued by The Accountant (William Fichtner), who has been sent, in a suit, to retrieve Milton back to hellfire?
There are elements of the ludicrously bizarre in Drive Angry. Milton manages to wipe out five or six enemies while having sex with a barmaid. The barmaid is, incidentally, as naked as the day she was born while Milton is fully clothed and smoking a cigar. There are quite a few naked women through this story while the men stay modestly covered. There are some revolting deaths – limbs and heads are lost. But, through it all, the muscle cars keep going and the pursuit speeds up. And Amber Heard wears extremely short and pert shorts.
I laughed as much as I flinched with Drive Angry 3D. The 3D element ensured that I involuntarily closed my eyes as bullets, blood spray and human bones span out of the screen towards me. Cars squealed and tumbled and performed their acrobatics in 3D splendour before my eyes. The relationship between Milton and The Accountant was dramatic but surface deep as everyone sets off to pursue and destroy the venal Jonah.
The film looks good. The 3D enhances the directed path of the magic bullet, the dogged chaos of the pursuing car and the bloody death of all and sundry who stand in the way of a dead man set on saving his newborn granddaughter. The cars are great – the guns are secondary.
Nicolas Cage is so good as Milton – a name that conjures up the adventures of mankind as it seeks to reclaim Paradise Lost. He is older but he is wiser and, while we are left in little doubt that hell was where he was supposed to remain, his efforts to save his innocent granddaughter demonstrate that there is always hope and even the Accountant can re-prioritise his targets.
Amber Heard might be there to look appealing in her skimpy shorts and feisty attitude but she does much better than that. She is a driver. She helps to drive the energy and spirit of the film.
And then there’s the soundtrack. You may well leave the cinema with Meatloaf ringing in your ears.