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Drive Angry

a film by Patrick Lussier

From the sweaty, sudden opening chase scene through an appropriately Hellish-looking dead end of town, to the Bosch-esque trip back to you-know-where finale, and all the fast driving, eye-popping, rough neck, bone-shattering, titty-gawking, ass-wiggling, Devil-worshipping, fuck-it-all mayhem in between (complete with Peaches blaring out Fuck Away the Pain on the soundtrack!), the appropriately, yet somewhat perplexingly titled Drive Angry, a movie about one man's escape from the underworld to rescue his granddaughter from being sacrificed by a cult at the next full moon, is a Hell of a lot more fun than most people are probably willing to admit.

Bringing Grindhouse into the 3D age, and similar to last year's equally ridiculous, but just as giddily enjoyable Piranha, director Patrick Lussier and star Nicholas Cage hand us a surprisingly fun movie. Yes, the movie is more than ridiculous, and the plot is filled with numerous holes, including a rather large gaping one at the end that is never rightfully filled in, or even addressed, and some could sum it up as The Fast and the Furious meets Ghost Rider, but once one lets go of one's preconceptions, and takes the film for what it is - the aforementioned Grindhouse moniker firmly intact - one is sure to have one (excuse the pun yet again) Hell of a good time.

Starring, as is appropriate I suppose, Nic Cage as John Milton (a literary reference that is probably lost on most viewers) a man with one purpose, and no qualms about how he accomplishes said one purpose, the movie, from the very start, can be nothing shy of what it turns out to be - a batshitcrazy car chase, Hell-fire hard-on, captured in gloriously cheesy 3D. The film also stars the vixenish blonde bombshell Amber Heard (think Megan Fox, but with the ability to actually act) as Milton's circumstantial partner-in-crime (make that partner-in-rescue-and-revenge), the dangerously dapper William Fichtner as "the Accountant", hunting down the hunter himself (his character and his performance are actually the movie's high point of wit and what constitutes as sophistication in these parts), and Billy Burke as the charismatically creepy (and quite lethal) ego-maniacal cult leader of whom Cage's Hellish escapee is after.

Highlighted by one bravura fight scene after another - the uber of which is when Cage's Milton cuts down a dozen cult members in a slow-motion gun battle scene, the entirety of which he is mid-coitus with an anonymous blonde bimbo (tell me you've seen that before! Go on, just try!) - and one spectacular car chase after another in multiple displays of muscle-car ejaculations, Lussier's film, as ridiculous as it may sound (and it is quite ridiculous upon viewing as well) is the perfect accompaniment to the current 3D boom (a boom that plays as mere ubiquitous tedium when used in anything but the most low brow of genres such as this). In the end, perhaps we are being set up for the inevitable sequel (though a rather tepid opening weekend box office may end up saying otherwise), but whether this is a one-off or the beginning of a hard-rocking franchise that is bound to descend into the bowels of a certain self-referential movie setting, it is one (here I go again) Hell of a ride to take.

As is the case with the Grindhouse mentality (just ask its grand champion Quentin Tarantino - and wouldn't it have been great to have seen what Tarantino would do with such material?) - the lower the standards, the higher the entertainment value. Now if only you would admit it, the movie is yours to enjoy. Pure pulp fun. [03/03/11]

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