Last year a viral video named Nicolas Cage Losing His Shit appeared on YouTube highlighting the strange acting style of the Oscar winning actor. Over the years Cage has garnered an almost cult like status for giving terrible performances in a string of increasingly dire films, to the point where one can’t help but wonder if it’s all some sort of genius Andy Kaufman style joke that the rest of the world has yet to cotton onto. From the Wicker Man, to Ghost Rider, to Bangkok Dangerous it often feels as if Cage doesn’t even bother to read the scripts he is sent before signing on the dotted line. Yet despite this there are moments of genius, such as Raising Arizona and Wild at Heart and through it all Cage remains a likable figure who this month returns to our screens in Drive Angry.
Cage plays Milton, a man who has escaped from hell to seek revenge on the leader of the satanic cult that sacrificed his daughter and now intends to do the same with his infant granddaughter. Milton is aided in his mission by the beautiful but tough Piper, played by Amber Heard, and pursued by The Account, a demon posing as an F.B.I agent, played by Prison Break’s William Fichtner. Drive Angry starts as it means to go on with Milton escaping from a vision of Hell as a flaming prison city in a classic car and proceeding to rid several Satanists of their body parts via the means of a large shotgun. This film has it all, car chases, cool one liners, shoot outs, and gratuitous nudity all presented in 3D, it is also one of the most ridiculous films ever made. In fact this film is so bad that one can’t help but wonder if it was an intentional decision on the part of director Patrick Lussier to create such a farce just to see if he could get away with it.
Lussier tries to compensate for the clichéd riddled script by piling on countless overblown set pieces, including a mid-sex shoot out stolen directly from the far superior Shoot ‘Em Up. Nic Cage is actually fairly underplayed in this film, mostly grunting and shooting people, which is a shame as it is actually a lot more fun to watch him ‘lose his shit’ and he is at his most boring when in ‘bad ass action star’ mode. The true star of the film is Fichtner, he seems to be having a lot of fun in his role, accepting the film for the nonsense it is and delivering ridiculous lines like “Jesus? A carpenter, who actually preferred short hair.” with the campy glee that they deserve. Drive Angry is a terrible film that should be avoided at all costs. Whilst there is a certain amount of silly fun to be had, the viewer soon becomes exhausted by the sheer stupidity of it all, and all the car chases and shoot outs in the world can’t suppress the feeling that Milton should leave the poor Satanists alone and start hunting down the makers of this film before the inevitable sequel happens.
Review by Elliot Hyams