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Laramie Movie Scope:
Drive Angry

Driving demons, grind house style

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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March 17, 2011 -- A man escapes from hell and drives classic muscle cars to pursue satanic cultists who have kidnapped a baby they intend to murder. Guns blazing, naked women, sex and violence. What's not to like? This is entertainment, grind house style, polished up a bit. It isn't as bloody as “Machete” was, but it has plenty of violence. If the film had taken itself seriously, like the last film that Nicholas Cage starred in, “Season of the Witch,” it would have been another disaster like that one was. This film has enough swagger and humor to take the edge off all the sex and violence.

Cage stars as Milton, a criminal who has escaped from hell to rescue an infant from the clutches of a ridiculously evil satanic cult leader, Jonah King (played by Billy Burke of “Eclipse”). Milton teams up with a feisty waitress, Piper (Amber Heard of “Pineapple Express”) who just happens to drive a massive muscle car from the late 1960s equipped with a scary hemi engine over 400 cubic inches of displacement (like the one in “Vanishing Point”). When that one is used up, they get another classic American heavy metal muscle car. Talk about fast and furious! Milton absorbs a lot of punishment, Mel Gibson style, in his quest. In another shootout in a seedy hotel room, I was reminded of some lyrics from the Rolling Stones song, “Start Me Up.” The song goes, “you make a dead man come.” This shootout is unique.

Basically, this is a road movie with supernatural overtones. While Milton chases the cult, he is being chased by a mysterious tracker (played by William Fichtner of the “Prison Break” TV series) who calls himself The Accountant. This guy is a lot like the Grim Reaper, or Anton Chigurh. He even flips a deadly coin to decide the fate of those he encounters like you-know-who. Milton has an account overdue with Satan and The Accountant has been sent to collect. Normally, The Accountant would nab Milton in short order, but Milton has a very fast car, a secret weapon, and The Accountant has a hidden agenda.

This is a 3D movie with a silly title and the usual stuff being thrown around to make that extra dimension more obvious, like spent shotgun shells ejected towards the camera. The action scenes are well-staged and the performances are adequate. A sort of super slow-motion effect (it looks like a CGI effect) is used to show bullets flying through the air. The story is simple, but effective. This film will die quickly in theaters because it is a bit lightweight for 3D, and the ridiculously hefty ticket price surcharges and not-powerful-enough projectors that typically go along with that feature. It may become a cult film later on. In the meantime, it won't do anything for Nicholas Cage's career, who has been in some bad films lately. The last thing he needs is another box office flop like this one, but at least this is a lot better than the awful “Season of the Witch.” This film rates a B.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in digital formats, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2011 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)