It is well known the Nicholas Cage, Oscar-winner, has had some financial troubles. Owning a T-Rex skull and multiple homes and castles does tend to put you in deep with the IRS when you owe them over $6 million. Because of these troubles, and probably some of his own twisted reasoning, he has had to do a lot of movies over the past few years. Unfortunately, not all of these are Raising Arizona or Leaving Las Vegas.
One of these less-than-stellar movies is Drive Angry. Released in early 2011, Drive Angry tell the story of John Milton (Cage…and yes, the name is obvious) a man who escaped from Hell to save his newborn granddaughter from being ritually sacrificed by the head of a satanic cult. Not exactly a Coen brothers film. It is violent and insane and contained some of the most ridiculous scenes I’ve watched in a movie. That being said, this film was amazing. If that short plot description didn’t make you want to run out and see this movie immediately…here’s a bit more:
– Milton is being chased by a character known only as “The Accountant” played by William Fichtner. Fichtner plays it up as The Accountant, who seems to be Death or some sort of god, giving the character just the right amount of style and panache without overacting. He’s dry and funny and elevates every scene he’s in; he is clearly having a ball.
– Milton pairs up with Amber “Failed Playboy Bunny” Heard‘s Piper. Piper is around to essentially look hot and kick ass. Literally. She beats up a LOT of people in this movie and not the girlie hair pulling sort of fighting. This is a long way from the Playboy Club. He initially just wants her car, but she ends up along for the ride. Her backstory doesn’t really matter all that much. All that matters is that she doesn’t hook up with Nic Cage’s character, preventing the gorge from rising in a million throats around the world.
– There is a long scene wherein Milton is having wild sex with this blousy older waitress, fully clothed mind you, and a posse of satan worshipers armed with a variety of weapons break into the hotel room. Milton kills them all, violently, without ceasing to have sex with the waitress or putting down his bottle of Jack Daniels. It is possibly the most preposterous thing I’ve ever seen. EVER. Worth the price of admission alone.
– The leader of the satanic cult is played by Billy Burke, better known to teenage girls around the world as Charlie Swan, father of Bella Swan from the Twilight movies. It’s a good thing this movie got absolutely no press because if even one of those silly Twihards thought that she should see this because Bella’s dad was in it, it would not have been a pretty picture. Burke’s Jonah King has the sort of Southern accent that Foghorn Leghorn would envy and he spends most of the movie chewing up the scenery. He’s just super.
– The end of the movie begins with an honest to god redneck orgy. Men shooting guns into the air, naked women dancing on top of broken down cars and RV’s, coolers with beers on the ground right next to coolers full of ammo. Milton drives around this orgy in a flaming Chevelle, gunning down rednecks right and left. And it just goes downhill from there.
– The movie was originally released in 3D, though unfortunately because I saw it on HBO, regular old 2D had to suffice. The director wasn’t interested in using 3D like James Cameron in Avatar or Martin Scorsese in Hugo. Even watching it in 2D, you can tell that the 3D in Drive Angry wasn’t being used to create a fuller world or immersive experience – it’s there to be as exploitative as possible. You name it, it flies out at you: bullets, car doors, fire, metal pieces, a human jawbone…
Drive Angry opens with a muscle car roaring out of hell and ends with someone drinking beer out of the top part of someone’s skull. This is a film that relishes its awfulness, its violence, its downright stupidity to the point where it becomes glorious.
I don’t know how many more movies like this Nic Cage has to do to pay off the IRS. I don’t know if he has developed a sort of Stockholm Syndrome and now feels he must do these sorts of movies. Whatever the reason, I just hope he continues. For all of us.
And because no discussion of Nic Cage is complete without it, a bunch of scenes where he flips out.