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They don’t make too many films these days that absolutely blow things out of the water. Films that don’t pretend to be anything but just dumb fun. The problem is that sometimes, that’s exactly what we need, especially as men. What I mean is, we have “Chick flicks”, hell, we get a new one every week it seems. However, Guy flicks aren’t as abundant. I don’t mean the simple action film like any of the latest Tom Cruise flicks; I mean the kind of love letters to Hot Chicks, Hot Cars, Motorcycles, Booze and Tattoos that we only get with an Expendables movie. Those films about the true American idea of what it means to be a man are few and far between. That may seem like a high brow but low concept idealism, but none the less, it’s a very real part of the American male image and it does seep into our sub-conscious as a society. That is one of the strengths of exploitation cinema. I’m talking about films that satisfy that need in us to be primal slaves to our tendencies, films that are nothing but a man’s wet dream. Films like Drive Angry.
Drive Angry starts off in a Hellish prison. John Milton (Yes, that’s his name), escapes the fiery inferno in a 1964 Buick Riviera and heads for Louisiana. That’s how cool he is. Once there, he stops at a diner and meets Piper, a waitress that is having the best morning ever and is about to have the worst afternoon to match it. Milton needs a car. His reasoning for escaping prison is to find and rescue his granddaughter who has been kidnapped by an evil cult leader named Jonah King (Billy Burke). I can’t say too much more without crossing into spoiler territory, and this is definitely a ride you need to take.
The film is filled with top shelf beauty, from Amber Heard and Christa Campbell to the gorgeous 1969 Dodge Charger that Herd drives. This is 100% a guy’s film, everything in this movie is a man’s fantasy life and like “Shoot ‘em Up”, it never lets up. In fact, I don’t believe I’ve ever watched this flick without alcohol; it just seems to call for it. That and the fact it contains a balls out sex scene involving a hot naked blonde, a cigar, whiskey and a firefight. Hell yeah!
Many critics made the mistake of reviewing this film like you would a standard Hollywood film. It’s not that, it is, in fact, anything but that. This is a balls to the wall exploitation dream. There seems to be an unspoken rule in Hollywood that only Quentin Tarantino or Robert Rodriguez are allowed to make a film like this, anybody else gets chastised. In fact, I believe that if Quentin’s name were attached, it would have done a lot better.
Nicolas Cage is simply bad-ass as John Milton. A type of character that he has never played before and in contrast to everyone else in the picture, never even utters a foul word. His mean spiritedness is brought across with sheer attitude. The way he walks, the clothes he wears, and the look in his eyes.
Amber Heard is equally as awesome as Piper, a young southern girl with a dead end waitressing job and an even deader-end boyfriend. Most actresses that look as good as she does (on a scale of 1 to 10 she tips it) can’t pull off though. Sometimes it’s just not quite right and sometimes it’s downright cringe-inducing (think Bridget Wilson in Mortal Kombat). Amber is completely at home with a gun or at the wheel of a muscle car, and make no mistake, she commands attention.
What can I say about William Fichtner that isn’t obvious? He nails it again here as “The Accountant”, a representative from Hell that keeps the checks and balances checked and balanced. He plays the character almost as a kin to Christopher Walken’s Gabriel in Prophecy.
David Morris shows up as Milton’s old partner and really grounds the film. Everything is so over the top that when he comes in, he brings a much needed realism and emotion to the film.
Writer Todd Farmer even makes an appearance in one of his many naked fuck roles. He and co-writer/Director Patrick Lussier have succeeded in making a film that can actually follow through with its insane premise and does so without a wink at the audience.
If you’ve never seen this film and weren’t sure about it, trust me, it is a good time. A pedal-to-the-metal, car-chasing, ass shaking, beer-injected exploitation masterpiece. Order a couple pizzas and grab a bottle. Party on!