Do you remember there was a time when every film Nicolas Cage touched simply turned to gold. He made compelling, easy-to-watch, entertaining ‘bad boy’ movies such as Face/Off and Gone In Sixty Seconds.
Then he made Ghostrider.
After that movie, which the Boston Globe cited as “great, stupid fun as long as somebody else is buying the tickets,” Cage seems to have gone off the boil somewhat.
So when I had the opportunity to nip to the cinema last night with a friend, we were faced with a bit of a dilemma. We could see Paul, or True Grit, or go a bit highbrow and see what the fuss is about with The King’s Speech. (I was also tempted to indulge myself in fantasising over Jennifer Aniston in Just Go With It, but my companion wasn’t up for that.)
Instead, we chose Drive Angry. In 3D.
This is Nicolas Cage’s latest blockbusting spectacular, and from everything I’ve read about it I can see critical reviews will soon ape that of the Globe’s thoughts on Ghostrider.
The plot is weak in many areas, the premise simple: John Milton (Cage) has escaped from Hell with only one thing on his mind: revenge for his daughter’s death at the hands of a cult leader. Jonah King (Billy Burke) has, in his possession, Milton’s baby granddaughter, taken from her mother straight from birth. He intends to sacrifice the baby to the almighty Satan in exchange for immortality and Milton is (ahem) hellbent on making sure that doesn’t happen.
He teams up with Piper (Amber Heard), and together they set off in a slightly ludicrous, blood-spilling pursuit across the southern states of the Good Ol’ U.S. of A.
On his tail is The Accountant (William Fichtner), who’s sole job it is to bring Milton back to Hell. Without spoiling the plot, there is one thing that Satan-loving Jonah King hasn’t taken in to account when it comes to sacrificing babies in Lucifer’s name: the Devil himself finds that quite annoying…
To fill in the gaps in the storyline and to cover up for the poor acting (Cage tries too hard to be mean, and fails; Heard tries too hard to be Southern, and fails – which is a surprise, given that she’s from Texas), the film is full of enjoyably gratuitous female nakedness, plenty of big V8 car chases, lots of guns and explosions (including one surreal destruction of a hydrogen-filled tanker that failed to take out most of Louisiana) and a rather amusing scene in which Milton gets his rocks off with waitress Candy (Charlotte Ross) whilst simultaneously shooting more than a dozen bad guys.
Oh, and it features Amber Heard.
It is definitely the type of film you need to remove your brain in order to enjoy, and yet I found it great fun to watch from start to finish. If you like big car chases, bigger explosions, and one touching-on-the-fringes-of-pornography sex scene, then it’s worth going to see in the cinema.
I suspect that in 2D, on DVD, it just wouldn’t be the same. And it’s probably worth getting a mate to pay for you to go, too…