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Car-movie review: Drive Angry

Fri, 27 May 2011

Drive Angry (on DVD and Blu-ray on May 31) starts and ends in the same place--the bowels of hell. Lead actor Nicolas Cage plays dead man on a mission, Milton, who breaks out of the unholy land--in a Buick Riviera--to rescue his kidnapped granddaughter.

Along the way he meets Piper, played by Amber Heard. Piper owns a matte midnight blue Dodge Charger 440, arguably the biggest star of the movie. As Milton chases down the cult that kidnapped his granddaughter, a group of men from hell and Earth follow closely on his trail.

The good thing about Drive Angry is that it doesn't take itself too seriously. Those skeptical of other movies with a good bit of action but too many attempts at depth will have no issues with this film. Expect a lot of one-liners from Cage, but there are only one or two cringe-worthy moments when the movie does get serious. For example, at one point, Milton tries to have a heart-to-heart conversation with Piper while a bullet is lodged in his eye.

Director Patrick Lussier gives a nod to both Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez with a blood- and nudity-filled flick with one outrageous scene after the next. From naked women fighting on a mobile-home-park lawn to severed limbs flying through a church, Drive Angry is a guy's movie.

The run time of Drive Angry is 105 minutes. Fifteen of those could have easily been left on the cutting-room floor. The driving scenes are as outrageous as they should be, but a few more would have been appreciated. There is a nice sheetmetal bit at the end that I was glad I stayed up for.

Overall, the movie isn't bad for its genre, but it's hard to recommend because of the length and the more-cheesy-than-usual dialog. If it had one more out-of-control drag-racing scene, it would be a sure-fire rental. As it stands, I'd say wait for Drive Angry to show up on a cable channel near you.

By Jake Lingeman