Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Drive Angry 3D

Do you want a movie with fast cars? Do you want a movie with big guns? Do you want nudity and lots and lots of violence? Do you want a movie where the laws of physics are discarded for the rules of awesome? Do you want it all in 3D? If you answered yes to all of those (and if you didn't, you may want to stop reading now) then Patrick Lussier (“My Bloody Valentine”) has a movie for you: “Drive Angry 3D”

Milton (Nicolas Cage: “Bangkok Dangerous”) is a man on a mission; a cult led by Jonah King (Billy Burke: “Twilight”) has kidnapped his newborn granddaughter, and he has two days to rescue her. After wrecking his car, he comes across Piper (Amber Heard: “Zombieland”), a waitress who doesn't seem to own an article of clothing that doesn't have holes in it. Piper is at a crossroads in her life and Milton intervenes, not just because it's the right thing to do, but because Piper drives a really cool car.

Together, the pair set off after King and his cult, only to find that the gun-toting cultists are not the only thing they have to look out for; Milton is not just the hunter, but the hunted. A man who only calls himself The Accountant (William Fichtner: “Entourage”) is after Milton. He may only be armed with a silver coin and sharp wit, but woe be unto the poor slob who stands between this sharply dressed man and his target.

I loved this movie, and kind of want to see it again already. It's not that the story is anything unique, it's just a roaring-rampage-of-revenge type of story, but it's done so well. The effects, the music, the humour, the gore, it all blends into a nearly perfect testosterone milkshake. Pretty much the only thing this movie could have done to make me like if more would have been to include Jason Statham and Bruce Campbell in the cast. Alas, nothing is perfect.

As far as the acting goes, Nicolas Cage does what he usually does, which is to say that he says his lines like he needs to run to the bathroom as soon as the scene is done. I dislike his acting in some movies, but it works really well in this film as Milton does not seem like a person who should be portrayed with too much depth or emotion. Amber Heard plays Piper as being full of piss and vinegar; she's opinionated, snarky, afraid of little, and is quite happy to bite off a lot more than she can chew when appropriate. She's more than a tag-along, and even when imperiled she is still no damsel in distress.

Of course the true standout character in this film is The Accountant. Imagine Christopher Walken when he was younger, now get rid of his unique way of speaking, and you have William Fichtner's portrayal of this pivotal character. Like Milton, the Accountant does not show much range as a character, but where Milton is a dark little ball of bad-ass, The Accountant has a cheerful sense of inevitability about him. He knows that he will get his way eventually, and is in no real rush to make it happen, so if you want to screw with him he will quite happily screw with you. I am almost more interested in seeing more of this character in the future than of seeing more of Milton or Piper.

This film is exactly what it looks like; a testosterone-filled joyride of blood, violence, sex, and dark humour. It never tries to be anything more than it is, and this is to its overall benefit; in fact, the only criticisms that I came out of the movie with were a continuity error early on, the way that Hollywood way Cage wiggles the steering wheel when “driving” (this is something that always bugs me when I see it though), and one scene (I'm not telling you what it was) that would have been original if the movie “Shoot 'Em Up” hadn't done it a few years ago.

“Drive Angry 3D” is everything I look for in an action film; it's violent, funny, and leaves me wanting to see it all over again. The characters come in black and gray (there are no true white hats here), and while the “heroes” may be questionable, the villains are truly villainous. If you want a fun, adult-oriented action film, then this is the movie to see (yes, I would even recommend this over “The Mechanic”).

This does leave one last question though: should you pay extra for the 3D? While the movie was filmed with 3D in mind, it really does not add that much to it. There are not a lot of things being jabbed at your face (unlike in the “Pirates of the Caribbean 4” trailer, where it happens three or four times), but there are a few explosions that hurl some shrapnel at you. The sense of depth the 3D adds is nice, but I think this movie will be just as awesome in 2D as it is in 3D. If you don't object to paying a few extra bucks though, I can't of any real reason not to.

“Drive Angry 3D” is in theaters now.

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