DRIVE ANGRY 3D – The Review
A surly loner jumps behind the wheel of his souped-up hot road, one hand clutching a sawed-off shotgun, the other gripping the wheel, and charges down a lonely desert highway, looking for revenge. This premise has been utilized in many action flicks over the years from Robert Mitchum in THUNDER ROAD to Mel Gibson in the Mad Max trilogy. The steely eyed driver this time is Nicolas Cage-he’s avenging the departed and racing against the clock to save a life. Oh, also the proceedings are shot in eye-popping in your face 3D. Hopefully those glasses will protect us from the gravel.
Prior to the opening title we’re thrust into a fiery landscape down a highway supported by collapsing bridges while an unseen narrator lectures us on prisons ( while liberally dropping f-bombs ). Suddenly we’re back on Earth as three lowlifes in a pick-up are run down by Milton ( Cage ). He’s able to force some information on a location from one of them before torching their flipped vehicle. After the main title, Milton’s at a roadside diner asking one of the waitresses about this spot the trucker revealed. It’s all the way down south in Florida, a shuttered prison. He observes another waitress, Piper ( PINEAPPLE EXPRESS’s Amber Heard ) helping out a poor family and quitting after being groped by the sleazy diner owner. On the way home her car overheats. Milton emerges from the side of the road and fixes it. She gives him a lift into town and drops him off before entering her modest home and finding her fiance with another woman. Piper decks the other woman and vents her anger at her fiance. He knocks her out and is about to disfigure her when Milton returns, flattens the thug, and puts Piper in the car. When she awakes, they are arriving at a sleazy Western honky-tonk bar and motel. Meanwhile a man in a dark suit calling himself the Accountant ( CRASH’s William Fichtner ) arrives at Piper’s home asking about Milton ( just as he had done earlier at the diner ). Flashing an FBI agent’s ID, he enlists two state troopers to help him track down Milton. Back at the bar Piper observes the arrival of Jonah King ( TWILIGHT’s Billy Burke ) and several of his heavily armed associates. A TV news report states that King, the leader of a religious cult, is wanted in the murder of a young couple and the kidnapping of their baby. After surviving and fleeing the ambush Milton finally tells Piper of his mission. While he was in prison his daughter became involved with King’s sect. After rejecting his advances, she escaped, and married a young man who fathered her baby girl. King and his men caught up to them, murdered the couple, and took the child. The cult means to sacrifice the child during a ceremony on the next full moon in order to open a gateway to Hell. Milton has just days to stop the sacrifice and rescue his grand daughter. Can he and Piper make it there in time? Or will they be stopped by the cult members? Or the local law-enforcement agents? Or the Accountant?
DRIVE ANGRY 3D plows ahead will all the subtlety of a charging bull. The makers use the 3D process to point guns into the camera and have all manner of debris hurling toward the viewer during the countless explosions. Thankfully they slow down the action sequences to enhance the in-your-face effects. In the hotel ambush sequence each thug menaces Milton with a different weapon ( ax, machete,etc. ) as he enjoys a cigar, a bottle of whiskey, and a friendly naked barmaid. And all in slo-mo. The main actors are not served well by a script that seems to be marking time in between the action set pieces. Cage grimaces and growls and occasionally throws out a funny one-liner. Heard is a feisty, frisky sidekick who handles herself well in the many fights and escapes. Burke seethes and broods as the arrogant, evil cult leader. David Morse shows up as an old pal, Webster, who supplies them with new wheels and tells Piper of Milton’s history. A bright spot in the brutal action is Fichtner’s Accountant. He’s fast with a verbal put-down and a killing blow. It’s a bit confusing because at times he tries to stop Milton while at other crucial moments he’s helping with the rescue mission. Cars crash and explode, the body count climbs, and the f-bomb is dropped countless times ( not too mention the very gratuitous nudity ). It just seems to get a bit tedious when the main two characters are not that interesting. Too bad one of the three D’s couldn’t have been some depth for the protagonists. The movie does promise action and it delivers.
Overall Rating: Three out of Five Stars