Drive Angry review (Blu-ray)

Subtlety is not one of director Lussier's strong points. After 2009's horror flick My Bloody Valentine 3D and now his second foray into the third dimension (for its theatrical release), this is clearly becoming a familiar style for this particular director. Nothing wrong with that. If you've always longed for a story combining satanic cults, hot girls and American muscle cars (and who isn't?), look no further.

Piper (Heard) – a young, no-nonsense waitress – meets John Milton (Cage) a mysterious stranger with a horrific past. Soon Piper liberates her boyfriend's muscle car to aid Milton in his pursuit of a satanic cult that has killed his daughter and kidnapped his infant grandchild. Furthermore, the shadowy Accountant (Fichtner) has arrived to track down Milton and return him to whence he came, stopping at nothing to retrieve his target. Piper and Milton must race against time, dodge the Accountant, battle hordes of cultisits and engage in numerous car chases to prevent the bloodthirsty gang from sacrificing his granddaughter.

The plot is a tad predictable, but is well designed for a fun night out with some cheap thrills. It's a silly yet fun story that doesn't take itself seriously. It aims to shock and entertain its audience, managing to do both smoothly. The story takes some risks in the form of the sometimes cheesy jokes as well as the gratutious violence and nudity, but all that actually makes it more fun. The film is well paced and rarely has any baggy sections that slow down the plot, managing to keep you engaged throughout. The script is surprisingly witty and fits the tone of the film perfectly. Unfortunately, some of the characters lack a little depth and make some strange decisions as a result – such as, why is this young waitress following a complete stranger on this rampage? Some excuse is made about looking for her purpose in life, but that fails to resonate.

The supernatural elements actually managed to intrigue me, in particular the Accountant, played expertly by Fichtner. He is clearly relishing the role and proving just what an excellent character actor he is, stealing the show with an intense, charming and amusing performance. Cage is a bit bland and feels  familiar, but just about delivers as the hero who seems to be taking things a little too seriously, even during a shootout while having sex. Heard brings a bit more weight to a role that could easily have been lacklustre and manages to make the heroine likeable; she clearly has a lot of potential and is one to watch.

All in all, this is a good old-fashioned guilty pleasure. I wasn't expecting a lot, and was pleasantly surprised with how entertaining it was. It's by no means a masterpiece, but who cares?

EXTRAS ★★½ An audio commentary with writer/director Lussier and his co-writer Farmer; two deleted scenes (1:30) with optional commentary; the behind-the-scenes featurette How To Drive Angry (18:17); Milton's Mayhem (9:24), a rundown of the carnage and death caused by Cage's character in the film (with scoring!); and Access Drive Angry, whihc features popup behind-the-scenes clips during the film.

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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