Nicholas Cage is, for the most part, not a very good actor. While his roles in "The Rock" and "National Treasure" were decent, most of his other work is awful. The man is especially bad at highly action-oriented roles, as evidenced in his incredibly terrible performances in "Ghost Rider," "Bangkok Dangerous," and "Knowing." Todd Farmer and Patrick Lussier, the creators of his latest film, "Drive Angry," seem to be at least somewhat aware of this, as they have created an awful movie that is at the very least enthusiastic about its severe lack of quality. While the 3-D effects are fairly decent, the acting, plot and general atmosphere of the film is positively horrendous.
The film centers around Milton, Cage, a dead felon who somehow manages to escape from Hell, having discovered that his daughter was murdered by cult leader Jonah King, played by Billy Burke ("Twilight"). When King takes Milton’s granddaughter, Milton decides to hunt down and kill King. Along the way, Milton must avoid falling into the clutches of The Accountant, played by William Fichtner, (TV’s "Prison Break"), a demon operative of Satan determined to drag Milton back to Hell. Milton is joined by Piper, played by Amber Heard, ("The Stepfather"), a waitress at a diner who decides to travel with Milton after he saves her from her abusive boyfriend, Frank, played by the films co-writer Todd Farmer ("My Bloody Valentine").
The film’s plot is practically nonexistent, consisting mostly of dumb action scenes that are separated by equally dumb and boring non-action scenes. The story seems to want to combine the gritty supernatural storyline of "Constantine" with the sheer in-your-face absurdity of "Crank," but does so really poorly; the parts of the plot involving Milton’s death and subsequent escape from Hell are quickly glossed over in poorly executed and boring exposition, and a great deal of time is spent on painfully rehashing Jonah King’s obnoxiously evil deeds. The only interesting subplot occurs near the end of the film, where the reason why and how Milton escaped from Hell is somewhat revealed, but even this section is dismally boring and understated.
The entire script is designed to constantly try to shock the audience; every third line seems to be riddled with curse words or other profane content, and any and every gunshot wound somehow manages to blow entire appendages off of a person’s body. This only manages to make the film look even more pathetic, as it comes across as incredibly stupid.
The film’s acting is just as atrocious. As mentioned, Cage does a horrible job as Milton, delivering some of the most horrendously stilted lines heard in a film in years. The supporting cast is just as bad, especially when one takes into account the filmmakers’ apparent love of a certain four-letter word that appears almost constantly. The only role that ends up being at least somewhat halfway decent is that of Milton’s friend, Webster, played by David Morse ("The Rock"), and even that role is underutilized, showing up only near the last act of the film.
If there is one even remotely positive thing to be said about "Drive Angry," it is that it is not afraid to use its 3-D effects. Various explosions pop out of the screen right in front of the viewers’ faces, making this film seem reminiscent of those really bad 4-D attractions that can be found in some theme parks.
While the film does show some signs of self-awareness, its plot and acting as a whole generally bring it crashing to the ground in a horribly underwhelming film. Potential moviegoers should take note: seeing this film will almost certainly make you drive home angry.