Movies From the Black Lagoon: Drive Angry
Movies From the Black Lagoon
Drive Angry - 2011, Rated R
By Tom Doty
Weekly Contributing Writer
A grandfather with an attitude problem shoots up half of Oklahoma to rescue his granddaughter from a satanic cult in this fast moving action/horror hybrid.
This one starts before you have had a chance to put down the remote as a car chase bursts onto the screen. The chase ends badly when one driver executes a perfect Steve McQueen spin out that allows him to blast the other vehicle to shreds with an enormous (and probably not licensed) shotgun. The men in the vehicle step out anyway and are blown to bits (which fly everywhere) by our here, Milton.
Milton barely questions the men before putting them out of their misery but you pick up on the fact that he doesn't like them very much. Next stop is a greasy spoon where the waitresses have to deal with a lecherous chef/manager and customers who can barely afford the special. It is all too much for a blonde server, Piper, who has had all of the drama she can stand. Unfortunately her motor vehicle is in no hurry to leave but Milton knows cars and is willing to get her started for a ride.
Meanwhile a mysterious, and dapper, dude rolls into town and is looking for Milton. He only refers to himself as 'The Accountant" and he is mannered but creepy (like a younger version of Christopher Lee). He has an engaging habit of speaking his mind and a deadly manner with a silver coin that he likes to toss up and down and through other people's heads.
Piper opts to leave town when she interrupts her boy friend entertaining a buxom local. She hooks up with Milton and aids him on his quest while slowly realizing there is something seriously wrong with the man. Turns out he is on the run and that suits her for a while. Eventually it dawns on her that Milton may have escaped form somewhere much farther than Peoria. It has something to do with his being behind the times and a lot to do with the fact that he survives getting half of his face blown off by a shotgun.
Piper finds out the hard way that he is after a satanic cult that means to sacrifice his granddaughter in a Black Mass. This act doesn't sit well with Piper either and she throws in with Milton. She probably would have done so anyway but it helps that the cult grabs her and roughs her up a bit. Milton rescues her and they, in turn, team up with The Accountant who wants Milton but hates satanic cults enough t o put off his real job. The reason he wants Milton is a plot point I won't give away but it is safe to say that Milton is on the run form forces that would make the 'Sopranos" run like rabbits.
The finale features an epic battle that finally stops this train and allows you to breathe normally, something you probably need to do after 90 minutes in the driver's seat with Milton.
This is excellent stuff thanks to break neck pacing and the performance of Nicholas Cage as Milton. This is Cage at his best. His off the wall delivery is letter perfect here and he is one of only a few guys who can pull off a role that requires him to annihilate his enemies with extreme prejudice while also mustering a tear for his infant granddaughter. This is to say nothing about the scene where he destroys a band of thugs while never letting go of the gorgeous woman he is making love to when the attack began. Granted these sorts of roles don't come down the pike often but, luckily, we have Cage to count on when they do. Amber Heard is also quite good as Piper but William Fichtner steals the show as the odd accountant. He plays this mysterious character as a cross between Tom Hanks and Hannibal Lector. It all comes together with frenetic pacing thanks to director Patrick Lussier. He proves that he learned a few things while directing those awful 'Dracula 2000" flicks for Wes Craven and he means to make his own flicks from now on. I can't wait to see what he does next.
Best Lines: " I never disrobe before a gunfight."
"It would be easy to shoot you in the throat and watch you gurgle while I eat my grapefruit."
"Gimme one good reason I shouldn't shoot you in the face."
Tom Doty occasionally emerges from the Lagoon to check his e-mail. If you'd like to get a message to him, write to: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can see Tom in the Washington County Playhouse's "Tune in for Murder" every Friday and Saturday in March, starting on the 9th.