Combustible Celluloid
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With: Nicolas Cage, Amber Heard, William Fichtner, Billy Burke, David Morse, Todd Farmer, Christa Campbell, Charlotte Ross, Tom Atkins, Jack McGee, Katy Mixon, Wanetah Walmsley
Written by: Todd Farmer, Patrick Lussier
Directed by: Patrick Lussier
MPAA Rating: R for strong brutal violence throughout, grisly images, some graphic sexual content, nudity and pervasive language
Running Time: 104
Date: 02/24/2011

Drive Angry (2011)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Heavy Petal

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Directed by Patrick Lussier (My Bloody Valentine), Drive Angry quickly establishes itself as a no-holds-barred grindhouse experience, fully aware of its own extreme ridiculousness.

John Milton (Nicolas Cage) escapes from hell with a mission: a cult of devil worshippers has murdered his grown daughter and taken her baby. They plan to sacrifice the infant at the next full moon. Milton must hit the road to stop the sacrifice; the fastest car around, a 1969 'Charger, happens to belong to a tough, disgruntled waitress, Piper (Amber Heard), and she joins Milton in his fight. Unfortunately, an "accountant" from hell (William Fichtner) has been sent to retrieve Milton, and just about everyone around is also trying to stop or kill him. Can Milton rescue the baby in time?

Within minutes, the hero shoots the hand off of one of his adversaries and it goes flying toward the audience - in glorious 3D. Heard is also great fun as the sexy waitress who can take care of herself in a fight; she's tough and resourceful, but it's arguable whether the rest of the movie is quite as interested in the power of women. Many other women characters are victims, and it's hard to watch the baby so close to jeopardy, so the preposterous tone of the movie is very important in getting past this stuff. Unfortunately, it's also slightly low-energy and could have been tightened up a bit. Cage in particular, who has given such nutty performances in the past (Bad Lieutenant, etc.) seems slightly sleepy. Regardless, the overall package is depraved fun.

Summit Entertainment released a high-tech Blu-Ray with a commentary track and deleted scenes, plus "Access: Drive Angry," an interactive feature that plays along with the movie. The disc is also available in a 3D version, though I'm not entirely sure all that many households have invested in 3D TVs or 3D Blu-Ray players.

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