Whether or not you’ll enjoy the film “Drive Angry” is based entirely on how many times you roll your eyes while reading the synopsis: a man (played by Nicolas “I’m in so much debt I had to appear in this movie” Cage) escapes hell and goes on a killing spree against a magical satanic cult while being chased by a demon in a business suit. Now, I imagine many people reading that synopsis will go, “that looks like stupid, mindless bullshit.” I look at it and go, “that looks like awesome, mindless bullshit.” There’s a difference.
That difference makes this film all the more disappointing to me. This is the kind of film I go out of my way to see in theaters, especially in 3-D. As much as I love watching period dramas about stammering, there’s just something about the spectacle of watching explosions, titties and bloodshed on the big-screen that can’t be replicated. Sure, you won’t be enlightened, you won’t be moved and you won’t learn anything, but dammit, you’ll have some fun for your $15. And that’s what this film lacked: fun.
The main problem is that there just wasn’t enough of a spectacle. There is too much introspection and character work. Now, don’t get me wrong; normally I’d applaud that, especially in a film like this. The problem is that every character isn’t in fact a character but an archetype: badass and stoic anti-hero, badass female, evil cackling villain, redneck wife-beater, etc. There’s not much depth, so we’re wading in the shallow end of the pool waiting for something to happen. And while there are indeed well-constructed action sequences, sweet kills and hot chicks, they’re too few and far-between for a movie of this potential.
That said, this film isn’t terrible. Wait, I take that back — this film is indeed terrible, but intentionally so. What I mean to say is that it does have some fun moments. Highlights include scenes where Cage has a balls-to-the-wall shootout while in mid-coitus, drives a flaming car and runs over a crowd of satanists and drinks beer from the skull of his enemy. Also, every move made by the demonic businessman known only as The Accountant (played to slimy perfection by badass “Dark Knight” bank teller William Fichtner) is gold. He is funny, ruthless and has the most satisfying and complex story arc in the film. The Accountant made the film for me.
So, in the end, should you risk hell and watch “Drive Angry 3D?” I can’t, in good consciousness, recommend it. It’s not going to appeal to anyone but a niche audience that enjoys exploitation B-movies, and even those people might be disappointed by the lack of action and good ol’ ‘sploitation. But it does have a few quality action scenes and uses 3D effectively, so it’s not a complete waste. It’s at least better then Cage’s last outing in hell, “Ghost Rider,” but that’s not high praise. Everything’s better than “Ghost Rider”.