Talking about Drive Angry runs the risk of becoming just a list of what you might have heard described as Holy Shit Moments. Honestly it’s a problem that plagues a lot of the Nicolas Cage ouvre, where this actor who’s particularly good at throwing himself into roles and who seemingly has a neverending appetite for work keeps getting handed movies which continually push the limits of a sensible creative’s idea of hey, should I maybe say no to this? It’s only due to licensing and availability that meant I didn’t look at all these Nicolas Cage movies well into October, with titles like Wicker Man (the beees), Colour Out of Space (and trust me, I thought about it), Mandy and Willy’s Wonderland all making up easily an entire October of Dread-themed Nicolas Cage movies, all of which would probably be easier to talk about than Drive Angry.
But here we are.
Drive Angry is a movie about Nicolas Cage as a man who escaped from hell with Satan’s own gun to save his infant granddaughter. In the simplest possible way to describe it, this movie does nothing special and nothing new. It is a structurally coherent movie where you can basically summarise it as ‘dude chases after thing, almost gets it, gets it, story end. It is a pop song of a movie, three minutes or ninety minutes of exactly what you expect based on the opening few bars and then you have to decide if that’s for you or for not.
It is important to talk about Drive Angry in this anodyne way because if you don’t, you kind of have to talk about it as an experience and then all the coherent words go out the fucking window.
This is a movie about Nicolas Cage saving a baby by driving a 1969 muscle car and shooting satanists in the face with Satan’s Gun. I feel like this is the kind of statement that needs to be delivered with my hands clenching in the air going what the fuck. The movie is non-stop attempts to create those kind of moments people meme about, and unlike a lot of the movies that seem to try it, this movie seems less focused on being taken out of context and more interested in just defying your own context.
Everyone in this movie sucks. Let me be clear. Every character in this story is a colossal dickhead at the very least, and it’s implied that Nicolas Cage’s character, Nicolas Temporary Immigrant Holding Facility, was not just a mediocre partner and dad, but maybe he was abusive. Which I mean, it does make it easy for me to see him go to hell at the end of the movie — oh don’t act fucking surprised — and focused instead on the damage he dealt to the world while he was here.
The movie is made to be viewed in 3D, mind you. I don’t know if you can do that on your TV, I know I can’t, and I don’t want to, but it does mean you’re going to get that kind of movie, if you’re at all used to them. But you may be the kind of person who loves watching a tomato fly at the screen and lean over and nudge your friend and say that’s because this movie was made for 3D. I don’t know, you enjoy yourself you person who is definitely not sitting next to me.
And like, I think talking about the over-the-top action sequences this movie does actually diminishes them somewhat? Like, this movie does have a sequence where a character tap dances over exploding hydrogen gas tank trailers (that explode everything they touch), or a sequence where Nicolas Cage has a gunfight with someone while having sex, or a sequence where the hero drinks beer out of the villain’s skull then drives a classic muscle car into hell itself. Those bits are in the movie, sure, and… like, you may think ‘how do they do that?’ and the answer is ‘well, they have fun with it.’
Drive Angry is the kind of movie I kind of hope for when I see a Nicolas Cage tag on the poster. I am hoping for a fun dumb movie where the people making it were having a blast, which these people sure seemed to have.
If this movie had a sudden moment where the screen cut to Christopher Walken explaining existentialism with literally no context or meaningful connection to anything else, I’d go ‘well okay sure.’
Neat movie. It’s worth about eighty minutes of your time, so fast forward through the start.