TOM ATKINS is in this fucking movie, that’s why you should pay money to see it

I arrived kinda early, so I stopped for a falafel because sometimes you’re very hungry but at the same time you know that popcorn is both too expensive and not filling enough and when you have 20 minutes to spare before an early afternoon showing of Drive Angry 3D, you go for the falafel place. I ate that delicious terrorist cuisine in my car, listening to Jim Breuer’s show on Sirius Radio. He was talking about a longtime fan/listener who went by the name Pocono Bob. This guy went everywhere preaching the gospel of Breuer and his Regulators, even on other radio shows. I remember once going on the radio show’s message board and seeing that Pocono Bob’s avatar was a pic of Nicolas Cage from Gone In 60 Seconds (the Angelina Jolie bullshit, not the original), which I thought was an interesting coincidence, considering that I was about to watch a Nic Cage joint. Anyway, the reason for all the Pocono Bob tribute was because Pocono Bob died of Cancer, because that’s what Cancer does.

I do a pretty good job of keeping myself away from commercials and previews, and avoiding movie website talk about the same, so for the most part, all I know about a movie going in is the title and the actors and sometimes the basic premise. All I knew about Drive Angry 3D is that Cage was in it, Wes Craven’s former editor directed (and yes, edited) it and that the poster looked like Gone In 60 Seconds II: Money Never Sleeps. Oh, and that according to the poster it was “Shot In 3D” which was written in type nearly as big as the title itself. That means that studios now have to distinguish their 3D movies from the shitty upconverts that have saturated the marketplace and have made many a moviegoer feel ripped off. “Shot In 3D” is basically saying “Hey guys, our 3D looks good, we promise! No three-dimensional noses here!”

So the movie starts off in Hell, looking kinda like the CGI hellscape from the 1997 film Spawn, only they added a city skyline and a bridge. Remember Spawn? I remember that shit. I remember being hyped as fuck for the first two-thirds of 1997 with my friends — with the majority of young Americans, really — and I would read some of the comics from my comic-nerd neighbor and I would tape the HBO cartoon series that aired Fridays at midnight during the summer (not like I had fuckin’ parties to go to, or chicks to bang). Then my friends and I would catch the trailers on E! and in the local movie theater, and that shit looked fucking Spectacular. I’d see Michael Jai White in promos and declare that this motherfucker was gonna be HUGE, he was gonna be showing old-ass Schwarzenegger and Stallone how to be an action badass. Damn, Spawn was going to be THE SHIT, I tells ya. We were ready for that fuckin’ movie. Then we saw the fuckin’ movie.

Hard to believe, but I’m a glass-half-full motherfucker and I remember kinda defending the movie to my pissed-off/crushed pals, looking for things to like about it, but secretly inside I knew the truth — Spawn was a majorly disappointing attempt at being a cool comic book movie. Anyway, I’m not here to bury Spawn, I’m here to praise Drive Angry 3D.

So yeah, it starts in Hell with William Fichtner narrating some shit I don’t fuckin’ remember. The important thing is that he’s some kind of spectral presence known only as The Accountant, this suit-wearing motherfucker who I’ve yet to decide as being either an emissary of that bitch-ass Satan or if he works for both sides, but basically his job is making sure the right people die when it’s their time and they end up in the right place based on their behavior on Earth. Shit man, I’ll just say he’s The Grim Reaper and be done with it, because that’s what he pretty much is. Whatever the case, he keeps referring to “badass motherfuckers” so much during his narration, for a second I thought maybe I wrote this fuckin’ guy’s narration, you know?

After the Hellscape nonsense and The Accountant’s narration, we then cut to some shit going down in Colorado (played by the tax-incentive-giving state of Louisiana) where this dude is car-chasing three redneck assholes and it ends with some nice ownage — 3D ownage! — that involves blood and limbs flying towards the screen. The dude is played by Nicolas Cage, who I will still declare as one of the most awesome fucking actors in the history of the cinematic arts. I’m sorry if you disagree (and many of you do), but I love how this guy treats every performance as performance art. Even in his most “boring” parts — GODDAMN IT SOME MOTHERFUCKER OUTSIDE IS BLOWING A WHISTLE CONSTANTLY AND ITS BUGGING THE SHIT OUT OF ME I CAN’T THINK STRAIGHT NOR CAN I THINK GAY WITH THE INCESSANT FUCKING WHISTLE BLOWING BY WHAT I’M SURE IS A LITTLE KID DOING IT FUCK FUCK STOP FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS OK HE STOPPED — he still manages to find something odd and/or interesting to do or display.

In the case of Drive Angry, his character John Milton (named after that Paradise Lost-writing mofo, I reckon) is a bit on the morose side and he doesn’t Turbo/Nitro-charge his line-readings or mannerisms, but that’s probably because there’s enough crazy shit going on around him that the only way to look crazier is to actually underplay his shit in the midst of all the bloody, overacting insanity. Cage was probably like How Dare You to his fellow actors and sure enough, he found a way to show those assholes that you never mess with a pro, motherfucker.

I mean, this is a movie populated by people who swear so much, you’d think that saying the word Fuck allows them to continue breathing oxygen (in other words, these people can probably step in and write some ramblings for this blog). This is a movie where the bad guys are not only Satanists, but redneck Satanists and that’s even scarier. No shit, I remember once — I’m not proud of this shit — I was bored out of my mind in Oklahoma (how I got there is way too long to get into) and I stepped into this pawn shop because the neon sign in front said GUNS and I love me some phallic symbols.

So I’m there, looking at the Colt Pythons and Colt Anacondas and the whole time I’m being stared at by these Stock Central Casting Redneck types behind the counter. It’s OK because I’m judging them and they’re judging me (filthy wetback) and right behind them, I shit you not, hanging proudly on the wall and taking up most of the space, was a Confederate flag. The idea of those kind of dudes worshipping Satan and trying to sacrifice babies during a full moon so that Hell can come to Earth is frightening and frankly, really fuckin’ useless because we already have Hell on Earth, we live that shit everyday. Ain’t that right, Egypt? I’m sorry, Egypt, I’m confusing you with Libya. Whatever, you’re all terrorists to us. Hey, don’t get angry with me, I’m just speaking for America (fuck yeah). We love your falafels, though.

Yeah, so that’s what the awesome fuckin’ Cage is dealing with here; redneck Satanists who are led by this guy who looks like a younger version of what Billy Bob Thornton currently looks like. This Billy Bob motherfucker is a real fucking asshole villain of the Boo Hiss variety; he thinks he’s like the Messiah of Evil (good movie, by the way) or something and he’s managed to collect himself quite the army of redneck assholes who live for the Devil with their heads full of devilish things, which is weird because I figure they were all about The Christ over there, but then I figure these Satanists are sick of that shit or just acting out and being all contrary and shit.

The people who cast this movie must also cast Coen brothers films because everyone looks perfect for the part, particularly the redneck army of Satanists. They don’t look Hollywood at all (probably because they were most likely locals) and even the way they dress is straight out of some comic book or Luc Besson production; some are dressed in casual hick wear and then you have Billy Bob with his country rock star clothes or this one henchwoman who is dressed like middle management for no apparent reason other than it’s fucking awesome to have a bad guy named The Business Woman in the credits.

Billy Bob speaks in very low hissy tones, like he knows he’s the shit, he probably genuinely believes he’s the Evil Messiah and not just huckstering these poor Nascar-watching fools he’s gotten to follow him. I wanted to see this fuck get dealt with big time, and it’s that kind of movie, the kind where he indeed gets his shit dealt with hardcore by the same motherfucker who drank himself to death in front of Elisabeth Shue; an asshole move, when you think about it, because if there was anyone to ever be sober for…

Cage hooks up with this annoyingly hot waitress played by Amber Heard, and she’s absolutely smoking throughout the running time, but in real life she’s dating a chick which is both a turn-on and a disappointment because obviously that was the only thing that was keeping her from getting with me. I liked that Heard’s character is never treated as a potential love interest for the Cage, she’s just his partner in Billy Bob-hunting. Movies always try to shoehorn in romance in shit that doesn’t need romance and it never works. Hey, don’t get me wrong, I can be a weepy bastard watching two overpaid motherfuckers get googly-eyed over each other while the music swells up and Celine Dion does her thing but not when it’s just a strictly calculated move brought on by some suit at the studio who is bitching about getting “the female dollar”. Hell, Heard’s character isn’t even treated as a potential fuck buddy — Cage is busy fucking around with 40-year-old waitresses.

By the way, can someone tell me how to enter the alternate dimension that this movie takes place in, because apparently in Drive Angry World, every waitress wants to bang you, at least if you look like Nicolas Cage. These waitresses, they’re perfectly cast because I totally buy them as someone you’d see working a Waffle House in the middle of some long godforsaken stretch of highway. They are as horny as the guy who wrote the screenplay, I reckon (sure enough, the writer is also in the movie; he’s introduced fucking some broad in his room — he’s also a big buff dude, so I’m just joking with you, Todd Farmer, please don’t beat me up. No, I take it back — fuck you, Todd Farmer; you’re a screenwriter, you’re not supposed to look hard, you’re supposed to look scrawny and nerdy have Coke-bottle glasses and speak with a voice made for This American Life).

In case you haven’t gotten the hint yet, this is one of those over-the-top slightly Miike-esque bad taste kind-of movies; it feels like something Neveldine/Taylor would’ve written, in fact, I’d say Drive Angry is like a Neveldine/Taylor script directed by someone with a more old-school sense of action filmmaking, like, I don’t know, Andrew Davis or somebody. It’s interesting (and very telling) that even though this movie was directed and edited by a dude who formerly made his living cutting movies, there’s little-to-no half-second razor edits and Confuse-O-Vision that is pretty much the norm nowadays in action movies. I think Wes Craven’s former editor made a wise choice; it’s like he figured that this script is so fucking nutty, to fill it with flashy editing and Michael Bay-style camera moves, it would overwhelm the audience to the point of exhaustion to do that shit.

It’s a good choice, really. I mean, you have a scene where The Fuckin’ Cage is having a shootout with Satanists while fucking some chick in a motel room. If that’s not all, he’s holding his .45 in one hand and a bottle of Jack in the other. And if that’s still not all, he’s fucking, drinking and shooting while still fully clothed. If that was shot with a new angle every 1/12th of a second and with every shot spinning around the room and with constant fast-forwards and rewinds and whatever else the fuckin’ Avid allows you to do, you wouldn’t be able to take in how fuckin’ insanely awesome that scene is.

I had a blast with this fuckin’ movie; in between the cool action (in cool real 3D) there are dialogue scenes with very interesting characters. I read a tweet from someone who said this movie was made for DVD chapter stops but I’m not sure I completely agree because I was never bored at all during this. My favorite non-ownage scene is where a character describes the worst thing about living in Hell; I’m going to go ahead and spoil it, this character talks about how the worst punishment in Hell is that you’re given a video feed where all you see is the suffering of those you left behind. It’s a neverending loop of all the bad shit that happens to your loved ones, you don’t get to see the other shit in their lives, just the worst moments, the anguish, the anger, the depression, the helplessness, over and over again, and you can’t do anything about it. Compared to that, this character says, burning in a lake of fire is nothing. You think Hell is other people? Shit, it’s even worse — Hell is watching other people suffer. Go suck a dick, Sartre.

The whole movie was Good Times as far as I’m concerned. Blood, tits, action, some jokes, 3D, rednecks, David Morse looking really old and grizzled — it has something for everyone. So it makes sense that nobody is seeing it, they’re all watching Suicide Fail and the guy from SNL get into hijinks. The theater I saw it in was empty, which I guess was kinda cool because I was able to loudly asshole it up with some Fuck Yeahs whenever some cool shit happened. If this does poorly, I fear this is just one more step in Cage’s career towards DTV-land (say hi to Seagal and Van Damme for me, and keep Snipes’ seat warm for when he gets back).

Whatever. I dug it and I’m glad the movie was made so I can watch motherfuckers get owned by an awesome actor with a hot chick in tow and the occasional cheap use of CGI that all takes place in a location that looks to be for Millennium Films what North Carolina was for De Laurentiis Entertainment Group back in the 80’s. Thanks for the Good Times, Buff Writer and Wes Craven’s former editor. Thanks for being awesome, Nicolas Cage. And thanks for giving me a semi in the movie theater, Amber Heard; I’m lonely and if you ever leave that chick you’re with and are looking to drop your standards from an astonishing height, give me a call. I’m in the phone book.

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