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A vengeful father escapes from hell and chases after the men who killed his daughter and kidnapped his granddaughter.
For more about Drive Angry and the Drive Angry Blu-ray release, see Drive Angry Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on June 5, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Nicolas Cage, Amber Heard, William Fichtner, Billy Burke, David Morse, Todd Farmer
Director: Patrick Lussier
» See full cast & crew
Drive Angry Blu-ray Review
That verb-adjective combo worked with 'Die Hard,' not so much with 'Drive Angry.'
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, June 5, 2011
Hell is already walking the earth.
Hurry up and call Tarantino; somebody stole a script he wrote back when he was 13. Drive Angry has all the makings of some Quentin Tarantino/Robert Rodriguez Grindhouse movie, except that it's a failure instead of a success. It's not an epic failure, though, just a regular old woulda-could-shoulda been better fail, feeling like the kind of thing Tarantino wrote as a teenager, a movie with all the makings of something better but just not quite fleshed out to the point of respectability or, as cinephiles have come to expect from the video store clerk-turned Hollywood sensation, greatness. Drive Angry, a hard-R action rampage with sex, boobs, and booze aplenty thrown in for good measure, has its moments and more or less works as a slice of raw off-the-bone entertainment. It wants to be a sizzling-hot fresh off-the-grill mouthwatering delight, but Director Patrick Lussier, whose most notable work is the competent but forgettable 3D Remake/Chiller My Bloody Valentine, winds up only playing copycat with his movie, taking elements of superior throwback genre pictures and winding up with Ghost Rider on steroids rather than the second coming of Death Proof.
The recently-deceased Milton (Nicolas Cage, National Treasure) has just burst free from hell and is back on Earth and ready to kill in the name of avenging his murdered daughter and saving the life of his newborn granddaughter who has been kidnapped and is being prepared to be sacrificed under the light of the full moon. Her captors are members of a satanic Louisiana cult led by the despicable Jonah King (Billy Burke) who believes that the infant's death will usher in a new era of evil terror across the world. While hot on the cult's trail, Milton rescues a young waitress by the name of Piper (Amber Heard, The Stepfather) from her abusive boyfriend. As she bears witness to horrific acts of violence and comes to understand both Milton's quest for justice and his unique ability to withstand physical violence, she slowly but surely accepts him and comes to his aid in the fight to save the baby. Meanwhile, Milton is tracked by a mysterious agent of hell known only as "The Accountant" (William Fichtner, Black Hawk Down).
Yes, Drive Angry is a disappointment, but it's the kind of movie that most probably don't count on for anything other than a good time at the movies. It delivers on that basic need well enough; genre fans will get a kick out of it, enjoying the fast cars, hot women, gruesome violence, cheap thrills, and the sleazy tone that all but guarantees no morality or thematic undercurrents, the picture emphasizing fast driving and butt-kicking while removing most everything else from the equation. Even the plot doesn't really matter; it's not at all interesting, serving instead as a means to get a skimpily-dressed Amber Heard into the same car as the bulletproof and bleached Nicolas Cage so they may go about their business of steaming up the screen with an air of sexy and all the violence and noise that genre fans can handle. The disappointment comes in that it just feels so darn repetitive. Sure the movie isn't one that was ever going to forever alter the landscape of trashy violent cinema, but between Nicolas Cage turning in his usual effective but half-dozing performance and the sheer unoriginality of the stunts, the movie just never seems primed to explode beyond the fireballs that light up the screen every now and then. Throw in some goofy hellish supernatural angle and a weirdo cult and the end result is just a more violent, but admittedly somewhat superior, combination of two Nicholas Cage flops, the aforementioned Ghost Rider and the abysmal so-bad-its-funny The Wicker Man.
Where the film also fails is in its copycatting of a style that's just too difficult to get right without the proper touch. Drive Angry so desperately wants to be the next hip and cool wonder of cinema, but just try and listen to the opening monologue without either thinking immediately of Quentin Tarantino or cringing at the failed attempt to replicate the witty-sharp dialogue he's so gifted with the ability to write. That it evokes Tarantino might be a plus, a sign that it's at least headed in the right direction, but to use a metaphor that relates to the movie, where Tarantino would have the slick and roaring Charger's pedal-to-the-metal, Drive Angry sputters along like the jalopy from Uncle Buck. Sure both serve the same basic purpose and with the same general method, but one is a whole lot better, more efficient, and far sexier than the other. Such is the thin line that separates this vapid wannabe from other, better movies. The saving grace, aside from enjoying a merely passable Action movie experience, is William Fichtner. The veteran character actor plays his bad guy part with an intoxicating and playful deviousness, the performance accentuating good comedic timing and the actor showcasing a commanding presence that fits in very well with the film's over-the-top antics. Unfortunately, Nicolas Cage can't match Fichtner's mastery of the film's tone, the fan-favorite actor plodding through the movie as droopy and uninterested as ever.
Drive Angry Blu-ray, Video Quality
Drive Angry zooms onto Blu-ray with a gorgeous 1080p Blu-ray transfer that's superior to the 3D release in terms of its general, non extra-dimensional visuals. This presentation is remarkably crystal-clear in every scene. It's naturally sharp and in no way "enhanced" to add a false sense of crispness and stability to the image. Fine detail is extraordinary across the board, from the most intricate facial texture down to the smallest little natural nuance as seen in various exterior and manmade locales alike. Viewers can even make out a small little bruise on Amber Heard's leg at the start of chapter two. Colors are stable and often striking, perhaps even a bit more so than is evident in the 3D transfer. Blue denim shorts, natural greens, neon hues reflecting off of wet pavement, or the warm interior of a country bar are all naturally rendered and precisely accurate. Blacks are wonderfully deep and true, and flesh tones never veer too far from "natural." The digital photography often borders on appearing naturally filmic; this is one of the flat-out best-looking digital films out there, considering the near-absence of that artificially glossy and sterile appearance. Noise, banding, and the like are non-factors. This is a sensational transfer from Summit Entertainment.
Drive Angry Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Drive Angry's DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack is exactly as one would expect of a movie about fast cars and gruesome violence. It's loud, full of energy, and it milks every gun blast and revving engine for all they're worth, and then some for good measure. Indeed, this is very standard stuff in terms of the high-octane, over-the-top sorts of listens. The entire soundstage pounds out one heavy note or effect after another, effectively engulfing the listener in the mayhem of Drive Angry in most every frame. Music is crisp and spills from every speaker with clarity of the highest order and with enough juice to push the best sound systems to the limit. Bass is strong, gunshots are potent, and various action-oriented sound effects inundate the listening area with unparalleled devastation. Imaging and directional effects are as precisely-tuned as the cars in the movie, dialogue never misses a beat, and even a few quieter scenes deliver impressive background ambience that rounds Drive Angry into an exhilaratingly complete listening experience.
Drive Angry Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Drive Angry cranks out a small but healthy supplemental package for its Blu-ray debut.
Drive Angry Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Drive Angry is one of those wishy-washy eh, could have been better, could have been worse movies. It's fine for what it is, but at the same time it feels terribly unimaginative. The plot isn't worth the paper it's written on, serving only as a means to an end to get the movie from one action scene to the next. Even with the premise of a baby on the brink of being sacrificed, there's no heart, no emotion, just an admittedly fun but very choppy ride down the same old Action movie highway, except here Drive Angry attempts to detour down Tarantino Parkway but crashes and burns instead of capturing that same kind of magic. Summit Entertainment's Blu-ray release of Drive Angry yields a fairly strong 1080p transfer, an Action movie-typical lossless soundtrack, and an average array of extras. Worth a rental and maybe a buy should fans of these sorts of movies find it on a good sale.
Drive Angry: Other Editions
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Drive Angry Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Interview: Drive Angry Director Patrick Lussier - May 30, 2011
Blu-ray.com had the opportunity to sit down for an exclusive interview with Drive Angry director Patrick Lussier. From his early days in television to his work on many a Wes Craven production to Drive Angry and beyond, Lussier talked at length about his career, ...
• Exclusive Giveaway: Drive Angry - May 22, 2011
Blu-ray.com, in conjunction with Summit Entertainment, is offering five lucky Blu-ray.com members the opportunity to win a copy of writer/director Patrick Lussier's Drive Angry, starring Nicolas Cage, William Fichtner, Amber Heard, Billy Burke and David Morse. ...
• Exclusive Clip: Drive Angry Blu-ray - May 20, 2011
Summit Entertainment has provided Blu-ray.com with an exclusive clip from the upcoming Blu-ray release of writer/director Patrick Lussier's Drive Angry. In the clip, Lussier discusses the benefits of using 3D cameras and shooting in native 3D, as opposed to post-converting ...
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