OK my friends, this is one of those embarrassing moments like where you discover that your parents are sexually active, your fiance dropped out of high school, or you have broken wind and there is no dog around to blame. There is a place for bad movies , and that place is apparently in front of my eyes. This looked ridiculous from the trailer, it stars Nicolas Cage, who has notoriously low standards for choosing film projects, and it’s main selling point is that it was shot in real 3D, not converted to 3D. If those things don’t automatically turn you off, then my friends you are my kind of people. This movie is STUPID, and there are so many elements that are Cheesy it would make a blue box of macaroni self conscious. Which pretty much explains my point of view on it. It Was A Blast! Much like the equally awful Piranha 3D last summer, I went into this with high expectations of campy fun and I was not disappointed. There is mayhem, blood, car chases and Nicolas Cage in full on weird mode, what more could one ask for?
Well I’ll tell you, there is actually a lot more that you get. The concept is silly, but in a way that makes you want things to go for the rest of the movie. Cage plays a vengeful soul, who has escaped from hell to rescue his grand-daughter taken by satanists with the intention of human sacrifice. I’ll pause here so you can read that last sentence again…, that’s right, he is literally “Grampa from Hell”. We never see how he manages his escape, and there are only the vaguest of hints as to why he was in hell in the first place. The movie pretty much picks up in the middle of a car chase that ends in a 3D gunfight which includes hands being shot off of wrists (IN 3D). After that, it is a series of chases and shootouts and flashbacks that make almost no sense but who cares, it’s in 3D and stuff blows up and gets chopped off.
Featured as the Accountant from Hell sent to bring Cage’s character John Milton (yeah, it’s that kind of obvious)is one of my favorite contemporary character actors William Fichtner. We first noticed him on the TV show “Grace Under Fire” where he played a recurring character.He plays the banker for the mob at the start of “The Dark Knight”. He reminds me of a young Christopher Walken, without the idiosyncratic manner of speech. He is in my favorite episode of The West Wing, and adds intelligence to every movie he is in, even a piece of crap like this movie. The character is menacing, and has some great comedic lines. In the end, it turns out almost as if there could be a sequel featuring the two characters. Since the movie appears to have tanked with audiences, I doubt that we will see that, but in my head it is already bubbling.
There are several muscle cars featured in the movie as well. That 1969 Charger, driven by Stuntman Mike in “Deathproof”, is back for another round of bad ass motoring featuring death and dismemberment. When I was 15 or 16, my friend Don Hayes and I almost died in a crash on the freeway in a 69’Charger. His mother owned the car and she let him drive it. The combination of power and teen adrenaline resulted in us driving too fast on the freeway, having a car in front of us stop short, and Don having to swerve onto the shoulder to go around and avoid hitting the other car. We fishtailed a little and hooked the bumper on the fence separating the freeway from the neighborhood around Ramona Convent. We ripped out part of the fence and bent back a part of the right rear bumper. I don’t know that there is any connection but I am sure he caught hell, so maybe that is why Nick Cage drives a Charger. Late in the movie, John Milton storms a satanist orgy in a Chevelle SS, that is on fire and looks like a muscle car from hell while he is chasing down the cult that has his grandchild.
The feature set piece in the movie is a shootout at a motel that features Milton killing dozens of cultists, while never stopping having sex with a waitress he picked up in the roadhouse next door. It reminded me of that scene in the original “Dirty Harry”, where Clint is eating his lunch and has to go out and stop the bank robbers while still chewing his hot dog. Neither could be bothered to stop their activity to deal with the bad guys, and the bad guys simply become fodder to show how phenomenally cool the main character is. No it doesn’t make any sense, but guys get shot in the kneecap, impaled by hoes, machetes, and scythes, and it all happens in 3D. Oh yeah, the blond waitress is also naked the whole time, in 3D.
There is a well worn analogy to junk food when it comes to movies like this. After two weekends in a row, watching some of the finest and most well regarded movies of the last year, I was ready for dessert. I don’t need Crème brûlée, or Tiramisu, I am perfectly happy with something cheap and full of sugar and fat from the 7-Eleven. So basically, “Drive Angry Shot in 3D” is a Hostess Snowball. Chocolate cake, covered in marshmallow, and frosted with pink coconuts. It looks fun, it goes down great while you are consuming it, but afterwords, you may hate yourself for giving into the temptation. Don’t worry though, you can live with the guilt.
Here is a podcast for a site titled How Did This Get Made? It is 35 minutes but their deconstruction of the movie is a blast.