|Directed by||Patrick Lussier|
|Music by||Michael Wandmacher|
|Box office||$41 million|
Drive Angry (alternatively titled Drive Angry 3D) is a 2011 American action horror film directed by Patrick Lussier, who co-wrote it with Todd Farmer. It stars Nicolas Cage, Amber Heard, William Fichtner, Billy Burke, Charlotte Ross, Katy Mixon, and Tom Atkins. The film, photographed in 3D, was released on February 25.
John Milton escapes from Hell and steals Satan's gun, the Godkiller, to kill Jonah King. King, a cult leader who killed Milton's daughter and her husband, plans to sacrifice Milton's infant granddaughter, believing it will unleash Hell on Earth.
After interrogating and murdering some of King's followers in Colorado, Milton discovers that the ritual will take place in Stillwater, an abandoned prison in Louisiana. On his way there he stops by a diner, where he meets Piper, a waitress. Milton abandons his damaged car and sabotages Piper's car, a 1969 Dodge Charger, offering to fix it in exchange for a ride.
Piper walks in on her boyfriend, Frank, cheating on her. Piper beats the woman and assaults Frank, who knocks Piper unconscious. Milton hears the commotion and comes to Piper's aid. Milton steals Frank's car and takes Piper with him to Stillwater. A supernatural operative of Satan, The Accountant, arrives on Earth with the mission to retrieve Milton and the gun. The Accountant interrogates Frank and discovers Milton's destination. After murdering Frank, he tricks a pair of state troopers into helping him.
At a shady hotel, Milton, while having sex with a waitress from a nearby bar, is attacked by King and his men, but he kills most of them. The Accountant appears with the police and chases after Milton and Piper, who are chasing after King's van. Milton uses the Godkiller to shoot at the Accountant, causing him to drive off a bridge. They follow King to a church, only to find it filled with King's followers. They are ambushed and captured. They kidnap Piper and shoot Milton in the eye, leaving him for dead, but he awakens, kills King's men, and pursues the RV. Piper breaks free, fights King, and jumps out of the RV onto Milton's car. King disables the car by shooting its engine.
Milton and Piper meet Milton's friend Webster, who gives them a 1971 red Chevrolet Chevelle SS. Piper discovers that Milton is undead and had to abandon his daughter to protect her from his former companions, which allowed King to manipulate her into joining his cult. Webster reveals that Milton died 10 years prior in a shootout and that Webster personally carried his coffin. She also discovers that the Godkiller has the power to completely destroy one's soul, preventing it from going to either Heaven or Hell. Meanwhile, one of King's surviving men tells the Accountant why Milton is chasing them.
After arming himself, Milton tells Piper and Webster to leave, concerned for their safety, but Piper says she has never before had a worthy cause to fight for and is with him regardless of the consequences. With the help of the now-intrigued Accountant, they evade the troops of Sheriff Cap and arrive at Stillwater. The Accountant captures Piper and forces Milton to give up the Godkiller before he can engage King, but he allows Milton to attempt to save his granddaughter, noting that Satan despises the sacrifice of innocent lives in his name.
While Milton slaughters King's men before they can sacrifice the child, Piper escapes from The Accountant with the Godkiller. King eventually gets the upper hand on Milton and savagely beats him. Piper fires the Godkiller at King, but misses and knocks herself out. King is enraged when another follower refuses to murder the infant. The Accountant attracts King's attention, allowing Milton to grab the Godkiller and shoot King.
The Accountant retrieves the baby and allows Milton to say goodbye to her. Milton gives her to Piper, who promises to care for her. Webster arrives and looks on as Milton "dies". After both Piper and Webster have left, Milton is revealed to still not be fully dead. Milton makes good on his earlier promise to Webster and drinks a beer from the remains of King's skull. He agrees to return to Hell but threatens to escape again if he is punished too severely. The Accountant claims that he looks forward to it. The Accountant then manifests a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air and Milton drives them back into the gates of Hell.
- Nicolas Cage as John Milton. He returns from Hell after ten years to save his granddaughter. He steals Satan's personal gun, the Godkiller, to delay the Accountant. He does not mind the pain he suffers in hell but finds being forced to watch the video feed of his daughter's murder to be intolerable.
- Amber Heard as Piper Lee. She is a waitress at a local bar and has a cheating fiancee whom she abandons to join with Milton to save his granddaughter.
- William Fichtner as The Accountant. He is Satan's slightly arrogant assistant. He was assigned to return Milton back to Hell and notes that sometimes he needs to return escaped souls. He possesses a coin, which he uses to kill or transform into an FBI badge to assist his impersonation.
- Billy Burke as Jonah King. He is a ruthless satanist who believes that sacrificing Milton's granddaughter will bring Hell back to Earth and he will be immortal. (The Accountant denies this, saying that Satan himself dislikes satanists.)
- David Morse as Webster
- Katy Mixon as Norma Jean
- Charlotte Ross as Candy
- Christa Campbell as Mona Elkins
- Pruitt Taylor Vince as Roy
- Todd Farmer as Frank Raimi
- Tom Atkins as Captain
- Jack McGee as Lou 'Fat Lou'
Cage stated that he was originally drawn to the project by a scene in which his character's eyes get shot out. In his previous film, Season of the Witch, he had wanted to have such a scene but producers rejected the idea.
The film was shot in 3D, and special effects were created by Gary Tunnicliffe. The cameras were rented from Paradise FX. One reason Cage chose this film was to be part of the new 3D technology.
The three cars driven by Cage in the film are a 1964 Buick Riviera, a 1969 Dodge Charger R/T (440 Engine) and a 1971 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454. Writer/director Patrick Lussier said the Riviera, used at the beginning and the end, "was the car we wished we had used the most, because it was a beautiful driving car", but "It was a shame to smack it up." Three Chargers and three Chevelles were used, with one made very safe for the stunts, and one intended to be shown close to being destroyed.
The film was released in the US on February 25, 2011. Footage premiered on July 23, 2010 as part of the San Diego Comic-Con International. It opened at ninth place within the box office rankings at $1.6 million on Friday, with a lower than expected $5 million weekend. Drive Angry's box office performance made it the lowest-grossing opening of a 3D film released in over 2,000 US theaters. The film was slightly more successful in international markets, earning $30.3 million.
Drive Angry was released on DVD, Blu-ray and 3D Blu-ray on May 31, 2011.
On Rotten Tomatoes the film has an approval rating of 47% based on reviews from 122 critics, with an average rating of 5.3 out of 10. The website's "Critics Consensus" says: "It may deliver the over-the-top action pieces, but Drive Angry prefers to work safely within grindhouse formula than do something truly unique." On Metacritic the film has a score of 44 out of 100 based on reviews from 21 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film a grade C+ on a scale from A to F.
Mark Jenkins from The Washington Post wrote, "Even at its most lurid, though, the movie is a little dull. And it only gets less compelling as the back story fills in." Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 2 out of 4 and called it "an exercise in deliberate vulgarity, gross excess, and the pornography of violence, not to forget garden variety pornography. You get your money's worth." Elizabeth Weitzman from the New York Daily News wrote, "Drive Angry is pure grindhouse, so committed to its own junkiness that it is, in its way, a pleasure to behold." Writing for Variety, Rob Nelson called it "plenty watchable" but probably more of a draw to cult film fans than to mainstream audiences. In The Hollywood Reporter, David Rooney called the film "a mindless exploitation entry that should have been appallingly awesome".
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produced and financed by Avi Lerner's Nu Image Films for between $45 million and $50 million
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audiences gave a C+ Cinemascore. 69% of the crowd were males and like many films this winter, the younger demo didn't show up: only 43% were under 30.
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smash-up car chases, hyper-violent physical clashes, flying viscera and a dollop of sex and nudity with ludicrous dialogue and only a passing concern for logic in this high-octane trash