Let’s just get this out of the way. Drive Angry is a very stupid movie. It was so close to being able to walk the line towards a fun entertaining film, but it isn’t as cool as it thinks it is. The movie is trying to feel like a gritty 70s thriller with all of its cool cars, cheesy lines, and irrational number of naked women. Yet it really fails more than it ever succeeds.
The first problem is Nicolas Cage as the main character, John Milton. (Yes, movie, I’ve taken high school English too.) This former Academy Award winner doesn’t have any expectations from the public anymore. Every once in awhile he reminds us that he’s talented in films like Adaptation, Matchstick Men and Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, but most of the times he is just paying his massive amount of debt. Sometimes he’s entertainingly bad and can fill YouTube with his insane choices, but here he is just boring bad. He has clichéd action lines to say and he never can pull them off. He has no presence in this film. While everyone else is high-fiving and screaming “Yeah man!!!” he’s just looking out the window.
Part of it is because he’s secretly old. 47 is not actually old, but this movie considers that to be ancient. The plot of Drive Angry is that he escaped from hell to stop a group of devil worshipers from sacrificing his daughter’s baby. The phrase that stands out is “daughter’s baby.” They never say granddaughter or grandfather during this movie because that could possibly detract from the awesome.
The awesome is all of the fast cars (which can be used on occasion to drive angry), outrageous violence, and attractive women. Amber Heard is the waitress who decides to travel with Cage for pretty much no reason. She’s seen as honorable in Cage’s eyes because she gave some muffins to a poor family, she has a Charger, and she likes to punch people in the fact. Honestly she probably didn’t have to give away the muffins.
While Cage is chasing down the man who killed his daughter to save the baby, The Accountant is also chasing him. This is William Fichtner having a blast as a vulgar Mr. Smith from hell. At least he understands what movie he is and can make it entertaining. Sure every one of his lines has a blunt curse word, which quickly starts to lose appeal, but at least it’s something.
There isn’t much spark in this movie at all. All of the actions scenes are standard, the 3D moments are groan worthy, and none of the lines are that cool. Most of that is because of lack of imagination but some of it is because the budget is too high for its own good. Too many car scenes have obvious green screen and all of the CGI makes it lose its cool. If it wants to be the supernatural Vanishing Point, be the supernatural Vanishing Point. It’s cooler and grittier if we actually believe these are real cars with real explosions. If it had that sort of sincerity, then a lot of the plotholes, clunky exposition, boring characters, and ridiculousness could be excused, but alas. It’s just another dumb forgettable movie with nothing worthwhile.