|Drive Angry (3D/2D) (2011)|
|Written by Noah Fleming|
|Monday, 06 June 2011|
The plot of "Drive Angry" is fairly weak. There is a good story in there somewhere, but it buried amidst undeveloped characters and far too many subplots, which by the way never get answered. That is my pet peeve when it comes to films. If a storyline is introduced then it better be addressed and resolved by the end.
In "Drive Angry" Milton is out for revenge for the brutal death of his daughter and son-in-law. At the same time he is trying to rescue his granddaughter. There is a crucial element to Milton's origin, which I will not divulge just in case you haven't heard anything about the film. That way it will sort of be a surprise when it is sort of revealed in the film. Note the several instances of "sort of." The surprise isn't really surprising because not enough information is given to the audience along the way. And two the reveal is underwhelming because they only ever beat around the bush and it comes so far along in the film that the audience already figured it out.
"Drive Angry" is Milton's quest to gain revenge against the cult that killed her daughter. There is a lot of satanic ritualistic sequences in here that have no concrete foundation. That is the main problem with the story is that elements are left floating, not properly introduced or resolved.
Once you hear of the film and its premise there is no other actor that jumps to mind for the part of Milton other than Nicolas Cage. He seems destined to play every role that calls for badass and a shallow character. Cage had a period of more dramatic roles. "Leaving Las Vegas" comes to mind. But this role fits in with what audiences have come to expect from him. That being said the portrayal of Milton is not distinguished for other Cage roles, turning this into just another action film.
William Fichtner plays "The Accountant," and by far does the best in the film. His performance is followed by Amber Heard, as the southern girl who is escaping a bad relationship, and is seemingly chosen to go along for the ride and serve a higher purpose at the end of the film.
"Drive Angry" is a film that was designed and shot natively in 3D. And the 3D truly shines in this release. The film gives the audience everything from depth to explosions right in your living room. When you see a film like this that was shot in 3D is makes you wish upconverted 3D films didn't exist. The details are extraordinary. Never has an action movie given the audience so much detail and texture. These are brought to life by the 3D image. The gimmicky 3D nature of the film fits perfectly with the genre. Bullets, explosions and body parts fly from the screen and land in your lap. Don't worry, the gore of the film is not as bad as it is touted to be. Any film with Danny Trejo, such as "Machete" is much worse. The black levels are the drawback to the 3D filming technology. Still, they provide a nice depth to the image. Colors are fully saturated. Amber Heard has never look better than she does in this 3D film. In short, the 3D nature of this film will left you stunned. There are few instances of ghosting and banding in the nighttime sequences, particularly the ones involving shots of the moon in the dark sky. However, these nuanced sequences are trivial compared to the excellent nature of the rest of the film. The 2D version of the film is excellent as well, but after watching the 3D version the 2D version just doesn't cut it. Probably should have watched the 2D version first.
If ever there were a perfect audio counterpart to the video quality, it is this DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio track. "Drive Angry" offers an audio track that is as three-dimensional as 2D surround sound setups can offer. I can only imagine the creativity that could be accomplished should this film have been mixed using a spherical surround setup. Getting this out of the way, the dialogue is the weakest point of the film. While it is general fine, the timbre of the dialogue just doesn't fit in with the rest of the audio components. It seems like more EQ was needed in the mixing phase. Aside from that, the audio track boasts full usage of all the speaker channels. Ambience and action components alike are excellently spaced in the rear channels. Panning and directionality between the front and rear soundfields is smooth and accurate. When combined with the 3D visual nature of the film, sound effects that fly from front to rear really match the action. The LFE channel is bombastic. At times it actually overwhelms the track, but for the most part it provides great drama to the audio track. Just make sure no one is trying to sleep in your neighborhood when you watch this film. The dynamics range can be a bit exhausting at times. It just never calms down for a long enough period to give the audience a rest. But perhaps that was the intention of the filmmakers.
"Drive Angry" comes in a two-disc package. One disc is a 3D Blu-ray of the film and the other is a 2D Blu-ray disc. All the special features are located on the 2D disc. There are relatively few bonus materials, but they cover the basics of what Blu-ray can offer. First there is an audio commentary with director Patrick Lussier and writer Todd Farmer. The commentary is informative, but the interactive feature on the disc is much more engaging. "Access: Drive Angry" is an interactive feature that provides information that is scene specific. This feature provides cast/crew interviews, behind the scenes footage, trivia, and even a track the body count feature. Lastly, there are two brief deleted scenes that were wisely cut from the final film. Both Blu-ray discs are BD-Live enabled.
"Drive Angry" is not a deep movie, but it offers some great action moments. The audio and video qualities will astound. The 3D version of this film is perhaps of the best I have seen to date. Well, at in the top three. I highly recommend this as a demo disc, but for those just interested in movies, then maybe just a rent.