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Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
We desperately needed a blog post. I was originally going to do a write-up on the recently released BluRay version of Fast Five (starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Vin Diesel and available now!), but honestly no write-up would ever do it justice. Actually, I’ll do a write-up on it in the next week or so. I’m waiting for some of the headier moments to kick in. For now, I’m going to talk about Drive Angry, the 3D flop movie starring Nicolas Cage and *also* released recently onto BluRay.
Drive Angry was a gigantic bomb in theaters. It opened with something like $5 million dollars, which at today’s ticket prices means seven people saw it in theaters that weekend. I’m not surprised Drive Angry tanked; it looked like crap, had little to no major promotional push (nice work, Summit Entertainment), and featured Nic Cage at the nadir of his career (though his nadir is pure gold to me). It also happened to be released in the midst of a 3D backlash, wherein anything that wasn’t a gigantic Hollywood promotion was seemingly rejected by a 3D-weary public.
But Drive Angry is worthy of much more than a $5 million dollar opening. Cage stars as John Milton (seriously), a deceased man who escaped the bowels of Hell in order to save his baby granddaughter from a religious cult. Billy Burke, of Twilight fame, plays the cult leader. DA also features a fantastic performance by the otherwise woefully under-crazied William Fichtner. Fichtner plays Cage’s adversary, a hellish “accountant” bent on tracking Cage down and getting his crazy ass back into Hell before he really pisses Satan off. The back-and-forth between both Cage and Burke and Cage and Fichtner are fantastic and easily the best parts of the movie. Fichtner creates a real sense of dread and uneasiness, while Cage brings a sort of muted bad-assery and Burke does his best to mash up Elvis with David Koresh.
The weakest parts of Drive Angry are its principle female lead, played by a too-serious Amber Heard (who speaks with a horrendous southern accent despite living in Colorado), and its running time, which at 105 minutes is just a bit too long to completely hold interest (especially in some of the later, slower scenes). David Morse is prominently credited, but receives *maybe* ten minutes of screen time. I was really hoping for a Cage/Fichtner/Morse triumvirate but was disappointed on this end. The 3D can be fairly gimmicky in areas and the special effects look akin to a $20 million dollar production rather than a $50 million dollar production. The last 30 minutes or so drag until the explosive finale. Lastly, Drive Angry also commits the cardinal sin of trying a little too hard to be edgy and cultish, which can just be annoying to me.
But I still had a helluva time (I mean, I saw Nicolas Cage drink alcohol from a freshly exploded skull). I liked Drive Angry despite its faults, and I have really been enjoying Cage’s recent career stretch. Though he may not have starred in a legitimate box office hit since 2007, I have been a fan of such fare as Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, Season of the Witch (sooooo terrible, but Cage and Perlman are great), The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, and Knowing (which an acquaintance referred to as “Nicolas Cage vs. Math”). I hope to check out the recently released Trespass this weekend and continue to enjoy Cage’s fantastic career arc.