I have a real soft spot for Nicholas Cage. Sure, he’s been in some shit movies, but he’s our generation’s John Carradine, taking role after role because he’s a working actor. Who else could give us the magic of “No, not the bees?”
Directed by Patrick Lussier, who edited all of Wes Craven’s later films and directed the remake of My Bloody Valentine, this film was originally shot to take full advantage of the 3D process. It’s as close as a grindhouse film as you’re going to get when you’re spending $29 million to make a film.
John Milton (Cage) died ten years ago and went to Hell, but he’s broken out and stolen Satan’s gun, The Godkiller, to come back and get revenge against Jonah King (Billy Burke, Lights Out and The Twilight Saga), a cult leader who killed Milton’s daughter and plans on killing his granddaughter in order to bring Hell to Earth.
On his way to the abandoned Stillwater prison to kill the evil cultist, he runs across Piper (Amber Heard, Mera in the upcoming Justice League, the remake of The Stepfather, Machete Kills), a waitress with bad luck in boyfriends. Directly after telling Milton her boyfriend is a good guy, she catches him in bed with a real estate agent. She kicks the woman’s naked ass literally to the curb and attacking her boyfriend, who assaults her. Milton saves her and they make their escape by stealing his 1969 Dodge Charger R/T 440.
That’s when we meet Satan’s agent, The Accountant (William Fichtner, as close as we’re going to get to a character actor in this day and age). His mission? Get Milton and The Godkiller back to Hell. He carries an Obolos, the coin that the Greeks would put over a dead man’s eyes as a payment to Charon, the ferryman for the dead. He can use the coin to become a badge or as a weapon. He kills Piper’s boyfriend and takes two cops with him to hunt down Milton.
After a night of drinking, both Milton and Piper are hooking up (not with one another, but with folks they found at the bar, though all Piper lets the guy do is paint her nails) when King and his men attack. Milton doesn’t even stop fucking the blonde he’s with, shooting and killing numerous men before he gets hit with a taser, which ends up giving her an orgasm — I’ve never seen that in a movie before!
Just then, The Accountant and the cops attack and Piper has to kill one of them to save Milton. On the run, they use The Godkiller to nearly take out the Accountant before they’re ambushed at King’s church. Milton is shot through the eye (Cage loved this idea and it may be why he decided to do the movie) and the church kidnaps Piper. Milton recovers because, well, he’s already dead and saves her before their car is shot up.
Milton comes clean with Piper, telling her that he died ten years ago to protect his family and best friend, Webster. In Hell, he watched his daughter die and decided to escape to save his granddaughter. It’s hinted here and in other scenes that Satan actually hates those that worship him, as he’s a quiet man who simply acts as the warden for evil souls. Milton’s stolen Godkiller doesn’t just kill people — it wipes their soul out of existence, the fate that he wants to deliver to King.
Piper agrees to following Milton to the bitter end and they head to Stillwater. The Accountant decides to help them, destroying a roadblock set up by Sheriff Cap (Tom Atkins, Pittsburgh’s greatest and star of Halloween 3: Season of the Witch, The Fog and Night of the Creeps).
Of course good wins out, but not before we get to see The Godkiller decimate King, whose skull is used to drink beer. Yep — finally someone has followed through on their promise to drink from someone’s skull.
The Accountant tells Milton that this is the most fun he’s ever had and that if Milton ever escapes again — which he promises that he will — he’ll have to hunt him down. They go back to Hell in a 1957 Chevy Bel Air.
Drive Angry isn’t a work of art. That said — it’s a hell of a lot of fun. There’s plenty of gore, lots of good gunplay and fun dialogue. Plus, plenty of Cage being Cage. You can’t ask for more than that. It’s not afraid to be an R rated movie — which, again, you can’t go wrong with.