So once again we have survived.

Drive Angry 3D

tn_driveangryDid you guys know that Tim Burton’s ALICE IN WONDERLAND is the #6 highest grossing movie of all time? It’s literally made over a billion dollars. Just seems weird to me, because I don’t know anybody that liked that movie. I thought it was pretty terrible but keep finding myself “defending” it trying to convince people that at least it was cool looking. Except for the Mad Hatter.

When I mention that somehow it made that much money everybody says “Well, because the 3D tickets cost more.” I’m sure that was part of it. But it’s not like every 3D movie makes a ton of money.

Case in point: DRIVE ANGRY 3D, which debuted at #9 at the box office this weekend, and made it in the record books as the lowest moneymaker for a wide release 3D movie ever. Even with the extra 3 bucks or whatever per ticket it made less than JONAH HEX did in its first weekend, and less than half what Nic Cage’s last movie, SEASON OF THE WITCH did. And those were kind of dumped off without much of a push. DRIVE ANGRY had a release date and ads and everything.

I bring all this up only to illustrate that I do not have my finger on the pulse of the zeitgeist. Even if I had a stethoscope I’d have no clue how to find its heartbeat, ’cause DRIVE ANGRY was one of my high priority most anticipated movies of the year. I made sure to fit it into my weekend in between three best picture nominees. I honestly don’t understand why it wouldn’t open big. Why wouldn’t you want to see this?

mp_driveangryHere are the ingredients that got me excited:

1. Nic Cage. Okay, so this can go either way, but combine him with…

2. a plot about a guy who escaped from Hell and has a muscle car and is chasing a satanic cult that kidnapped his baby granddaughter. Originally I heard he escaped from prison which to be honest I like better, but I can get with this Hell bullshit too.

3. this team of director Patrick Lussier (former Wes Craven editor) and writer Todd Farmer (JASON X) also did MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D, which had some funny shit in it, was shot with actual high quality 3D cameras and followed my preferred FRIDAY THE 13TH 3D philosophy of gimmicky as Hell 3D. I had alot of fun with that one and it didn’t even have Nic Cage or a cool car.

4. I thought Cage would take the opportunites of 3Dness seriously and do some weirdo VAMPIRE’S KISS type shit, based on this quote from Fred Topel’s interview:

“Yeah, I wanted to find ways to go into the audience. I even tried to get my tongue into the audience but I don’t know if that made it into the movie. That would’ve been an extreme moment but I’m not sure that it’s still in there or not. Yeah, trying to find ways to dance with the 3D cameras so that I could get into the fourth row of the audience or more.”

So, was I right, or was the world right? Well, we were both right. There is room for grey in this life, room for nuance. DRIVE ANGRY 3D is not as jawdroppingly awesome as I was hoping, but it was definitely worth my time. Maybe not yours. We all have different priorities.

First the bad news: Cage is relatively restrained in this movie, he’s playing it pretty normal. I noticed no mega-acting, no WICKER MAN style freakouts, no spontaneous Mick Jagger poses like in DEADFALL or VAMPIRE’S KISS, no tongue coming into the fourth row or dancing with the camera. His most animated scene is the one where he’s in a hotel room fucking Charlotte Ross from Days of Our Lives and he says “I never disrobe before a gunfight” and without dislodging his johnson kills a bunch of gunmen who burst into the room. In that scene he’s got a touch of Elvis, but the rest of it he pretty much plays as a normal leather jacket-wearing tough guy hero.

(And yes, that scene would be funnier if I hadn’t seen SHOOT ‘EM UP, where Clive Owen did almost the exact same thing with Monica Belluci. Clive was able to satisfy his lover, though, while Nic’s ends up in tears of horror, even with the added pleasure of second-hand taser tingling.)

Also, it turns out all the information that was coming out about the plot was building us up too much, it sounds alot more nuts than it comes across in the actual movie. So I apologize for my part in spreading that information – I didn’t know. Cage’s character is kind of like Michael Biehn in THE TERMINATOR or Joe Morton in BROTHER FROM ANOTHER PLANET – all that shit about Hell is a backstory that you hear about throughout the movie, you don’t get to see a crazy demonic prison escape or anything like that. Kinda minimalistic.

So the ideal way of seeing this movie is something very few people will get the chance to experience: on a whim, without knowing much about it, but in 3D.

Now the good news:

As far as a low key studio b-movie in three-dee, DRIVE ANGRY has plenty to offer. It’s produced by Millennium Films (with a snazzy new logo) and especially for one of their movies it’s surprisingly low in shittiness. It opens with a car showdown where Cage as John Milton (either a reference to the author of the epic poem about the Fall of Man or to the guy R. Kelly wants to pack his things for him at the end of “Real Talk”) chases down a couple of dudes and blows them to shit. It establishes right away that this is gonna be a movie with some cartoonish gruesomeness, because Milton shoots a chunk out of a guy’s leg, the leg can no longer support the guy and it snaps. I approve. This scene also has what I believe may be the first 3D Guy-Walking-Slow-Motion-In-Front-Of-Explosion, and that’s a good sign that the movie is on my wavelength.

Milton needs a new car, but luckily he finds a smokin hot waitress (Amber Heard) in a troubled relationship who’s driving a badass ’69 Charger, and he’s not only able to hitch a ride with her but to save her from her cheating abusive boyfriend (writer Todd Farmer, playing a similar character to the one he played in MY BLOODY VALENTINE, with another 3D-naked-woman-in-parking-lot scene) and take off with her and the Charger.

We learn that Milton is on an unauthorized furlough from Hell, with the righteous mission of stopping this satanic cult leader Jonah King (Billy Burke) from sacrificing a baby. This is personal for both parties. For Milton, not only is the baby his granddaughter, but this guy murdered his daughter. For Jonah not only does he want to sacrifice this baby to unleash Hell on earth or some shit like that, but he hates the baby because (SPOILER) her mama cut his dick off.

The movie would be alot better if a more interesting actor was playing the cult leader. I guess this guy is from the TWILIGHT movies, but he seems like some kind of third rate Jon Bon Jovi. He’s the kind of villain that you don’t really love to hate, you just kind of hate him. There really needs to be a magnetic presence for this guy that Milton is chasing. Luckily there’s a much more interesting character that’s chasing Milton: William Fichtner as “The Accountant.”

The Accountant is a suit-wearing agent of Hell who passes for a fed because he has a magic coin that he throws high up in the air (one of the more show-offy 3D shots – in fact, two of them, since they use the same trick twice) and it turns into a wallet with a badge. He’s an unstoppable killing machine like a Terminator who tricks real cops into working with him and interrogates and impales people as he tries to track down his fugitive.

As always Fichtner is funny and mischievous in the role, and the character is interesting because he’s not exactly evil, he’s just a demonic being doing his job. He doesn’t hate Milton, in fact he enjoys the game he has with him, like Tom Waits’s devil in THE IMAGINARIUM OF DOCTOR PARNASSUS.

There are a couple other kind-of-cool smaller characters. David Morse is in it and not as his usual gum-chewing-asshole character, but as Milton’s old partner-in-crime-who-has-now-gone-straight. Not only does he seem really nice and honorable, but he has 2 (two) badass cars prepared for Milton’s use. There’s also a small appearance by the great Tom Atkins as an eccentric sheriff. I think he’s one of the Lussier players now, since he was in MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D. I doubt Lussier will still get to do the HALLOWEEN 3D he’s been attached to for a while, but that would be so great if he had Tom Atkins in it and it’s only a coincidence that he starred in the original HALLOWEEN 3.

Heard has gotten poor reviews, but I thought she was pretty good as far as these actresses-who-look-like-models-playing-southern-girls-who-wear-Daisy-Dukes-and-throw-punches go. I’m not predicting a great career or nothin but she’s not one of those female leads that might as well be a sex dummy. She has some presence and can say her lines like she knows what the words mean. The character is also kind of interesting as far as gender roles go because she’s openly promiscuous but never gets punished for it, and at the end Milton trusts her to raise his granddaughter. Usually a character like that would be looked down on by the movie. You can only be a hooker with a heart of gold if you get paid.

Like the poster says, this was shot in 3D, and I dig that. My friend said it looked blurry but in my experience it was pretty much flawless 3D, with nice smooth camera moves to show off the layers without sacrificing geography. Filmatically the car scenes aren’t DEATH PROOF awesome or anything but they’re solid and comprehensible and look cool popping out of the screen.

There’s at least one spinning ax tossed toward the audience, possibly as a nod to the ridiculous number of flying pickaxes in BLOODY VALENTINE. I don’t think there are quite as many projectiles as in that one, but there are a respectable amount. There’s exploding debris, an occasional body part, a jaw bone, some supernatural CGI shit, some cars going off jumps. There’s some matrixy rotating around digital projectiles, and I don’t mean that as a bad thing. If you don’t want to see silly shit like that then you don’t want to see this movie.

regular-actingI’m not sure why Nic chose to stay so caged on this one. I suspect an epic megablast of weirdo would’ve filled the hollow center and made the weaknesses harder to notice or totally irrelevant. It wouldn’t be BAD LIEUTENANT good but it could still be legendary. If he’s gonna be in the fourth row I want him to be eating roaches and shouting out the alphabet, not just standing there.

I’m sure this will surprise people a little on cable, it’ll give people a few laughs, but they’ll be missing out on the 3D. Since it’s not a great movie I can’t get too choked up about it dying a lonely death, but the shame of it is this would probly play good with an enthusiastic, possibly drunk audience. It has a knowing-but-not-too-winky tone that reminds me of some of the legit drive-in movies I’ve enjoyed at late night horror marathons. And at the very end it has the type of truly great moment I will always cherish.

SPOILER OF THE BEST THING IN THE MOVIE – DO NOT READ UNLESS YOU’VE SEEN IT OR EXPECT TO DIE BEFORE YOU GET A CHANCE TO

At one point Milton has a wise ass line where this villain Jonah offers him he’s offered a beer and he says he only wants it if he can drink it out of Jonah King’s skull. It’s the kind of promise you always want an action hero to actually deliver on, but know they never will. Unless they are Nicolas Cage. In DRIVE ANGRY Cage actually does get to enjoy drinking a cold one out of the skull of his slaughtered enemy. And not in a macho way, like MacGruber pissing on Val Kilmer’s corpse. He does it real casual during a conversation, and kind of awkward, like drinking soup out of a bowl filled to the brim, trying not to spill any.

This is that genius Nic Cage touch you want to see whenever he’s in a movie. He shows us that drinking out of skulls sounds great on paper, but doesn’t really work that well in reality. And that it’s still totally worth doing.

VERN has been reviewing movies since 1999 and is the author of the books SEAGALOGY: A STUDY OF THE ASS-KICKING FILMS OF STEVEN SEAGAL, YIPPEE KI-YAY MOVIEGOER!: WRITINGS ON BRUCE WILLIS, BADASS CINEMA AND OTHER IMPORTANT TOPICS and NIKETOWN: A NOVEL. His horror-action novel WORM ON A HOOK will arrive later this year.
This entry was posted on Thursday, March 3rd, 2011 at 4:06 am and is filed under Action, Horror, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

59 Responses to “Drive Angry 3D”

  1. I think this is already gone from my local theater sadly, but I’m curious, is there any decent 3D nudity?

  2. Vern – Better question isn’t if its worth it, but is it worth the $10+?

    Majestyk has got to know.

  3. I paid $13.50 to see it and was glad I did. And Griff, Vern is right about it feeling like a real drive-in movie. Complete with the level of nudity I’d expect from one of them. But if you were wondering if the nudity was used in any 3D gimmicky way, no it isn’t.

    Apparently Cage’s own particular brand of mega-acting now has a name: Nouveau Shamanic acting. (LINK CONTAINS THE SAME SPOILERS AS VERN’S REVIEW)
    http://bit.ly/ePvefi

  4. “I bring all this up only to illustrate that I do not have my finger on the pulse of the zeitgeist.”

    And how. Movies like this make me feel so old because while I don’t need the movie to be a huge moneymaker, I simply don’t understand the utterly profound lack of interest in it. What the hell is wrong the kids these days?

  5. I mentioned in another thread that the movie would have had much more gravitas if David Morse played John Milton and Nicolas Cage played the satanic cult guy. It would have been a completely different movie and then we would have had 3D Mega-Acting.

    Decent movie but I just didn’t love it as much as I was hoping I would. Amber Heard is the hottest lesbian in Hollywood though.

  6. One of the worst instances of the promiscuous girl who is punished has to be from the movie Taken. The friend who wants to party with some French guy gets sold into sex slavery. That part of the movie was unconscionable. Good thing Drive Angry is a little classier than Taken.

  7. I understand what you’re saying, RBatty, but don’t you think she’s being punished for being irresponsible and telling a total stranger where she lives and that she and her friend would be all alone? It’s like John Carpenter always said: The teenagers weren’t being punished for having sex, they were being punished for not paying attention.

  8. RBatty – the whole of Taken is unconscionable. It’s a shining example of Bush-style world politics (see also: Hostel, Touristas, The Ruins) – The world outside the US might look all shiny and pretty, but it’s a nest-bed of thieves, murderers and rapists, all out to get YOU!. Neeson warning his daughter that the big bad outside world is full of danger. Girl gets kidnapped just so Neeson can go “See, I TOLD YOU! Ya Shoulda listened to me!”

    However, even knowing that, i still love it. I love the hell out of Neeson as a complete badass, and that’s why I’ll be
    going to see Unkown, to watch him punch another load of Eurotrash in the throat.

  9. Mike: I think the fact that it’s a xenophobic movie made almost completely by non-Americans adds another level to the affair. I love TAKEN but don’t want to defend it too staunchly because I recognize that it is a deeply stupid movie in many ways, which is largely why it works: It keeps it simple in a way that real life could never be. But there’s something interesting about a group of filmmakers that are perfectly willing to portray their own country as a den of debauchery and sin just to feed the fears of a foreign land. Is there some criticism of the film’s intended audience going on here? Are they subversively/cynically selling Middle America’s skewed perception of the rest of the world back to them? And is the end result any different from that of a group of American filmmakers doing it in earnest?

  10. Mr. Majestyk, I think the “ironic” nature of her punishment, that the girl who wants to have sex is now a sex slave, makes it pretty clear that she’s being punished for her promiscuity. That being said, if we were to do away with all art that’s problematic, then we would have nothing left to read or watch. The success of Taken completely comes down to Neeson’s monologue over the phone to the killers. Whoever put together those trailers knew exactly what the hook was in that film.

  11. I was going to argue that the other girl becomes a sex slave, too, but then I realized that its her virginity that extends her grace period before she’s sold, thus giving Neeson time to rescue her. So I suppose you have a point. However, whether she planned to fuck anybody or not, I still think it was pretty fucking stupid of her to give out all that info to some stranger she met at the airport. I don’t care what country you’re in, that’s a bad idea. TAKEN was clearly intended to be as disturbing as the subject matter it depicts in order to educate and, perhaps, save lives.

  12. “I love TAKEN but don’t want to defend it too staunchly because I recognize that it is a deeply stupid movie in many ways.”

    Majestyk – Like that ever stopped you before buddy.

    See this is one thing about this web sight I don’t understand. TAKEN is stupid, DRIVE ANGRY is stupid, but one gets penalized. The other is celebrated. I don’t get it? (At least I save money on one ticket compared to the other.)

    I think you guys worry too much about the TAKEN politics. Its like Vern and his deal with the DIRTY HARRY series. Are they terrific entertainments? Why yes. Are the politics exactly in line with me or Vern’s? Not really (to say the least), but that’s the thing: DIRTY HARRY is a fantasy, its not reality. TAKEN is a fantasy, not reality. That’s how we can watch them for what they are without getting our panties twisted. Duh.

    Which among other things is how the French can produce a TAKEN and not bat an eye at the moral/ethical/political qualms if someone put too much heart and mind into something like that. You know that Mr. Magic, you know better.

    “Movies like this make me feel so old because while I don’t need the movie to be a huge moneymaker, I simply don’t understand the utterly profound lack of interest in it. What the hell is wrong the kids these days?”

    Andy – Oh I don’t know, maybe backlash at 3-D ticket prices, or the gimmickry itself already tiring out people? Maybe Nic Cage pissing away his brand name value this side of Charles Bronson late 1980s Cannon run, or the fact that the movie looked terrible in the previews? Much less one most folks won’t pay $5 to go see, especially 10+ at that.

  13. RRA: I will defend TAKEN to the ends of the earth for its value as an action movie. But if we’re talking about defending the themes inherent in the material, that I can’t really do. Which is fine. As this site’s most vocal BAD BOYS II fan, I’m perfectly okay with loving a movie that stands for some fairly heinous things if it does it entertainingly.

  14. So Majestyk what your saying is that TAKEN is a badass PSA.

  15. RRA, a country and a culture’s stance towards certain politics and ideologies are often embedded in its art. On one extreme we can look at propaganda films like Leni Reifenstahl directed (tellingly enough, most of the films produced in Nazi Germany and Stalin’s Soviet Union were not propaganda documentaries like Triumph of the Will but rather entertainment films that had propagandistic undertones). However, you can look at entertainment from less extremely totalitarian countries. For example, the differences in the American and the U.K. Office shows how entertainment both shapes and is shaped by its given culture. Look at how much more optimistic the American show is than the U.K. show. Likewise, a lot of people claim that this overabundance of optimism has lead to the extreme uneven distribution of wealth in the U.S. The argument goes, because Americans believe that one day they will be one of the ultra wealthy, they tolerate such inequality. I’m not saying that this is the purpose of TV shows like the Office, but that this is the unintended consequence of a culture that puts a premium on happy endings and Horatio Alger stories. Okay, that’s my rant for the day.

    On the other hand, people like what they like. Even today people who find Triumph of the Will’s message abhorrent still praise its aesthetics. Where you draw the line between a film’s politics and your own is tricky, and I don’t feel like condemning people for liking Taken just because I find parts of the questionable, especially since I like plenty of movies that have questionable politics. Instead of simply denouncing these movies, it’s probably better to be knowledgeable that they do make ideological arguments.

  16. Charles: That’s exactly what I’m saying. Knowledge is half the battle. The other half is throat-punching.

  17. Man, I HATED Taken. That movie was just too raptastic for my tastes. Deeply misogynistic, vile, anti-woman, and kinda boring to me too. I think it lost me completely during the scene where they go to the rape camp and have all these longing shots on the women with smeared makeup in chains.

    Of course, it goes both ways, doesn’t it? I was offended by that imagery because I interpreted it as something erotic and you could easily make a case that it was not in fact designed to be viewed as erotic but rather as horrific. But I don’t think it was. I think Taken is a prime example of having your roofies and raping her too. We’re allowed to indulge in all the hardcore S&M debauchery with a clean conscious because we’re following a protagonist who stands against such things. And to me, that’s kinda bullshit.

    Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think we all need to have sex in missionary, under the covers, with the lights off. I’m totally down with some kink play, probably more attuned with that portion of my psychology than most. It’s just the way it was presented in Taken struck me as an indulgence in rape fantasies rather than an exploration of kink.

    As for Drive Angry, I can’t believe you guys liked this movie. I saw it months ago, I think last October, and I thought it was an unmitigated disaster. The action was incoherent, the characters boring, and Fitchner’s character turns out to be utterly irrelevant to the plot. The only thing I liked at all was Amber Heard, whom I also interviewed about the movie, and found to be a very intelligent and poised young woman.

  18. Jake – Nouveau Shamanic acting sounds like it was made up to describe Javier Bardem (the Spanish Cage in both his tendencies towards mega acting and mega hair) in PERDITA DURANGO.

  19. I like that this review is posted the same day I get the new issue of CLiNT with Vern’s article on Nic Cage and Mega-Acting.
    As for TAKEN, it was directed and written by the people who did Banlieu 13, part of the plot which was a guy setting out to rescue his SISTER from being a drugged up sex slave, so maybe it’s just their “thing”. I expect therefore that the sequel, titled Taken 2/Re-Taken/Taken Aback will begin with Bryan Mills infiltrating another sex trafficking organisation while in drag.

  20. TAKEN 2 – TAKEN ‘ER?

  21. I think they should reverse the roles. This time, Liam Neeson gets kidnapped and his daughter has to rescue him. They could call it MISS TAKEN.

  22. Caoimhín – Good call. That term does fit Bardem’s PERDITA DURANGO performance like a glove. A glove crafted from the finest of Spanish insanity. You know, scenery chewing gets way too bad a rap for the amount of entertainment it provides.

  23. I’ve seen the trailers for it and it looked pretty good, I’ve been planning on seeing it. I think I will go ahead and check it out.

  24. Taken 2: Taking it Back!

    A black power take on the franchise.

  25. Or TAKEN ABLACK?

  26. How about a prequel to Taken: Took.

    Nic Cage minus Mega-Acting holds no interest to me.

  27. This film was brilliantly retarded. Gonna catch it again with my buddies this weekend and sneak in some beer. That kind of kickass filmatism. I do agree with Vern that it was hurt by lack of mega though. If any film requred master level mega-acting from Nic Cage it’s one with this premise.

  28. Maybe the Taken sequel should feature Nicholas Cage as the villain: an over-the-top spoiled wacky terrorist who’s also an egotistical womanizer and really had had his eye on the new acquisition but hadn’t gotten there in time to collect her before Neeson’s character rescued her. As part of a convoluted plan to make sure he can get to the girl and not be murdered by Neeson, he has his men kidnap Neeson and then bullies a team of surgeons into altering their faces with each other (after which he kills the surgeons and anyone else on his team who knows what happened.) Neeson, now looking like Cage, is immediately dumped into Interpol’s lap where he is incarcerated in a Supermax prison secretly run by the United Nations. Cage, now looking like Neeson, begins making his moves on the daughter.

    The film could be called… umm…. how about “Taken Off”?

  29. Taken 3: Neeson’s daughter gets caught up in the mind-destroying world of recreational marijuana, falling prey to a cult; Neeson and his no-nonsense precision terrorizes the pot-heads while systematically slaughtering his way through the ranks to find and rescue his daughter.

    The film could be called… uh………….. “Token”.

  30. Or to make sure his daughter’s safe, he constructs a giant moon-sized space station and takes her on board, then to make sure there’s no more trouble from the planet earth, he uses it’s super laser to blow the world up.
    TARKIN.

  31. After the token effort of Taken 3, the series seems creatively dead; but the producers, wishing to keep milking the cash cow, answer this charge by leaping off the horse from the other side: the cult leader from Taken 3 was the brother of a humanoid alien, to whom he had promised Neeson’s daughter (played by Nicholas Cage. The alien I mean, not Neeson’s daughter.) The cult leader’s job had been to prepare Earth for colonization by acclimatizing them to the special drugs in the weed, but now that plan is ruined. Cage is determined he’ll at least take the girl, however, and launches an assault on the convent where Neeson sent her to escape her poor lifestyle choices, annihilating the nuns. Neeson is visiting at the time, and is naturally overwhelmed, leaving him hideously scarred, but also (by luck and pluck) in possession of an alien teleportation device run by the alien drug.

    Escaping from the hospital where experimental surgery had been performed on the apparently homeless man to control the pain of his burns, and suffering delusionally from his experiences, Neeson quickly digs up the research of the murdered doctors who had switched his face with the wacky terrorist back in Taken Off, by stealing it from the doctors who had reconstructed and reversed the process. Not being a genius, however, he is unable to get the new synthetic skin to last more than 99 minutes in sunlight without decomposing.

    Fearing to wait any longer to save his daughter, Neeson transports himself and his equipment to the planet from which Cage came using the teleporter and the drugs which enable navigation between subspace points. Unfortunately, the planet is almost completely covered in desert, making his artificial skin almost useless. Fortunately, after crash-landing in the desert, he is rescued by a group of kick-ass desert rebels, who are unhappy about the exploitation of their planet and their drug (which in a shocking plot twist is something excreted by Godzilla-sized worms), and who are expecting a savior from the heavens to lead them in an uprising against the particular galactic noble house which has been oppressing this duned planet.

    Neeson, wearing the black overcoat and fedora he scavenged from a trashcan back on earth, his face wrapped in bandages, and riding a giant worm that he himself has tamed by learning to growl syllables through the weapon of the indigenous people (his gravelly voice turns out to be the best tuned sounds possible, which also helps him fulfill the messianic prophecy), leads a night-time assault on the local ducal palace during a sandstorm, to rescue his daughter (though the freemen take advantage of the confusion for their own purposes of course) from the maniacal Cage who floats around the place wearing nothing but proud glitter and a spacey looking speedo. Neeson’s daughter goes mad, regresses to childhood, and runs around pretending to be a little girl with the mind of a centuries old woman wearing a nun’s habit; at the end of the movie, she’s the one who stabs Cage with a knife, and he loses control of his floaty powers soaring out into the vacuum of space as she lurches in slo-mo through the ruined palace wearing the nun’s habit, the knife, and a terrifying grin.

    The film could be called….. ……….. um…….

    “Tarkhannen”! (That would be the name of the galactic noble family that Cage comes from. Or maybe the name of the desert freemen. Either way, I’m not sure, doesn’t really matter.)

    Or maybe “Dark Tarkhannen”. Because Neeson’s skin can only survive in the dark, which is also when the climactic battle takes place. And it has a kind of rhyme to it!

  32. Wow, while I was composing that, Stu spoiled the general plot to Token 5!

    (You can see the natural story progression there. Damn, Stu, are you reading my mind from the little camera on the computer that watches me unblinkingly!?!?)

  33. Er, Taken 5. (Though clearly I can see which sequel title so far I subconsciously prefer…)

  34. I think Cage should play the villain AND the daughter, Eddie Murphy style.

  35. I’ve not read the spoiler-y parts of this one because I fully intend to Netflix it (probably won’t see it in 3D though). I’d like to see if the MBV3d team can redeem themselves for that one.

    Although, in positive news, Amber Heard has been very much on my radar ever since her scene-stealing turn in “Zombieland”. I still can’t watch her broken-foot zombie shuffle without cracking up. And I can’t remember another death-by-cistern-lid in film that made me laugh/wince as much as hers did.

  36. The world is full of thieves, murderers, and rapists out to get you, hell, the U.S. is full of thieves, murderers and rapists out to get. Don’t be so naive.

  37. Seriously though, I see big things for Mrs. Heard. She was a very good and very open interview. Much more intelligent and poised than most young actresses I have met. And my lord, she is painfully beautiful in person.

    Here’s our interview for Drive Angry from last Comic-Con. http://collider.com/comic-con-amber-heard-interview-drive-angry-3d-all-the-boys-love-mandy-lane-review/39781/

  38. I stand by my words in the Potpourri thread. Apparently, Vern & I are among the 23 Americans so far who have splurged for this movie in the cinema. Fair-weather 3D Cage fans we are not.

  39. Mouth, I can’t be bothered to track down your other comment, mostly because I can never remember how to spell potpourri. (Hey, I think I got it!) I do want to know your opinion, though, since I’m on the fence about spending the dough on a ticket. Would you mind preserving your thoughts here for posterity?

  40. I’m proud that I was spoiler-free and vague enough to not spoil Vern’s better and more thorough review. Per request of my esteemed colleague from NYC:

    DRIVE ANGRY 3D:
    . . .first 30 seconds of the movie voiceover says “badass motherfucker” twice. An auspicious start.

    . . .touches of greatness (excellent 3D; good, well-filmed bloody action; literally electric sex; this Amber Heard chick I’d never heard of kicks a lot of ass and seems to be healthily obsessed with sex), then it loses momentum for about 40 minutes, then it’s pretty good again for about 5-10 minutes, then it just sort of ends in an unfortunately forgettable fashion.

    . . .a nice mix of the déclassé aspects of THE DEVIL’S REJECTS, the fun of violence & nudity of MACHETE, and the symbolic depth of NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, but with an added layer of literalness due to the whole hell imagery intro & having a protagonist named John Milton* and a guy not unlike Anton Chigurh who’s named The Accountant, which, because it is literal and visually displayed & sorta explained onscreen, is arguably the opposite of an added layer when it comes to allusion & symbolism, so really it would be an anti-layer, which is generally not considered good. Sorry Coen brothers, that was inappropriate of me to make this comparison.

    William Fichtner has never been bad in anything. He always strives for excellence and usually achieves it. No exception here; he is fun to watch.

    Cage is adequate, but there is a most unfortunate lack of MEGA. A cockroach doesn’t go near his mouth, and even when he sexually harrasses a woman, he seems subdued. He even stays mostly stationary and stone-faced during the awesome sex-shootout scene. Very sad.

    Best line: “I never disrobe before a shootout.” (Cage, in coitus just before killing several baddies while remaining in coitus)
    or
    “Go forth and pour your anger upon him.” (The bad guy who successfully scared me by bringing to mind a supernaturalish version of Glenn Beck.)

    *As an esteemed holder of a B.A. in English, I can’t help but feel that the reference to the author of (most famously) PARADISE LOST should mean something, not to mention the bizarre shot of Nic Cage driving [angry] over a snake on the highway, but I couldn’t really put it together. Now that I think about it, the woman’s name, Piper, could have significance as well if I examine some of the great early works of Milton and even Edmund Spenser. There’s gotta be something going on there, but it eluded me. Maybe I’m rusty since I last analyzed 17th century literature allusions. I was too busy watching the shotgun carnage and wishing away the blonde chick’s clothes.

    February 26th, 2011 at 5:00 pm

  41. Thanks, Mouth. Looks like I might have to see if I can find a theater in this cursed city that still plays matinees and a bar in the vicinity that opens early.

  42. This is no guarantee that you won’t be disappointed, though matinees are a good hedge against that. I won’t pretend that this is the sturdiest of all my NYC-priced cinema recommendations.

    In conclusion, go watch TOY motherfucking STORY 3D in theatres again.

  43. Had a great time with this flick. I wish Cage had unleashed the MEGA, but Fichtner made up for that. Oh, and Vern, Morse offers the beer and Cage passes until he can drink it from Burke’s skull. Nitpick, sorry. Great effing time with this. It will be boring on DVD, though.

  44. Mouth, is Toy Story 3 really any better in 3D than if it were just in 2D?

  45. Darth Irritable

    March 3rd, 2011 at 9:27 pm

    I will be hitting Australia tomorrow – since they’re behind the US on everything, it’ll probably still be playing. Hopefully Armageddon isn’t waiting at customs for me…

    Also, Taken is absolutely fucking awesome.

    I guess I completely glossed over the misogyny involved because of the sheer kickass brutality of Liam Neeson skullfucking Paris. If you can’t dig that, then maybe your qualifications in badass appreciation should be re-evaluated.

    Kind of a middle aged Bauer.

  46. Sternshein, is goat cheese really any better than provolone?

  47. The one thing about Taken that always kinda amused me…when Neeson is on the phone, he tells the kidnappers if they let his daughter go he won’t go after them, but he doesn’t say a word about his daughter’s friend. It’s never “let my daughter and her friend go” or “let the girls go”, it’s just “if you let my daughter go”. It’s like he’s perfectly fine with them taking the other chick, no big deal.

  48. Mouth, I guess I asked before you mention that we should see it in 3D when I’m so sick of 3D and how it really doesn’t make a movie any better if it’s good or bad.

  49. I think the real reason this is flopping, although I think “Cage fatigue” is a factor, is that there isn’t much of an auidence for these self-consciously dumb and over the top, winky-winky throwbacks to movies that were never huge grossers anyway. SNAKES ON A PLANE, GRINDHOUSE, PIRANHA 3D, DRIVE ANGRY; all of these got a lot of internet hype, but lackluster (at best) grosses. Sometimes underservedly (GRINDHOUSE), sometimes deservedly (SNAKES) but either way it’s a trend. I think a lot of people realise by the time the films come out that they’ve gotten as much of the joke as they need. MEGA SHARK VS GIANT OCTOPUSS was one of the ten most frequently downloaded trailers in its year. Where do you think it ranked in DVD sales for that year? Somewhere in the Top 200?

    Also, just a thought on Amber Heard, and I hate to say it, but I wonder if coming out might sadly effect her career? She was/is doing well in the sex symbol stakes, but I think that in some small, pathetic way men like to believe they might somehow be able to convince their favourite starlette to an all-night bonkathon. Obviously the world loves lesbians, except (as Vern pointed out in his review for WILD THINGS 3(?)) when they’re in a committed loving relationship. And of course, Hollywood is still pretty conservative when it comes to casting gay actors in roles. Now to cover myself, I don’t think for even a second that she shouldn’t have done it, and I hope the world proves me wromg, it’s just something that occurred to me

  50. This movie delivered on nearly everything I was hoping it would. Nic Cage sporting an implausible and artificial hairpiece, 3D nudity, car chases, gun fights, and William Fichtner actually OUT AWESOME-ING Nicolas Fucking Cage. Saw it with two buddies, a pint of whiskey, and a big fat joint. Theres your crowd for that movie, and we loved it. Also, there was only one other guy in the theater.

    Plus, as I was so hoping Vern would point out (and he did), Cage delivers an amazing Velveeta line like “I’ll take that beer when I can drink it out of Jonah King’s skull.” And later he FUCKING DOES do exactly that. Then goes to throw the skull away, looks at it again, and puts it in his jacket. To take back to Hell with him. I mean come on. We actually applauded.

    This movie is definitely for a niche audience, but that audience should be large enough to float this above the title of ‘Worst grossing 3D film Ever’.

    N.C. for Prez 2012. He’s going to take over the world eventually anyway, the last 10-15 years have all been part of some master plan that our feeble minds cannot comprehend anyways. Crap or gold, I fully believe Nic is entirely aware of what kind of movie he is in at all times and how to respond accordingly.

  51. Amber Heard just got the lead in a network hour long that already has a season order based upon the history of Playboy. If that show takes off it will make her more money than a film career ever would.

  52. I know a lady in the industry who once delivered a script to Nicolas Cage. She said he had a jewel encrusted turtle. A LIVING jewel encrusted turtle.

  53. Sure that he hadn’t turtle encrusted jewels?

  54. Amber Heard is one of the more interesting young actresses out there. All the Boys Love Mandy Lane is an absolute underrated classic. I had to laugh when she had a part in Zombieland as 406, Columbus’ neighbor turned zombie. She’s definitely got the chops for genre movies and hope to see more from her in the future.

  55. I just watched the 2D version on Digital Versatile Disc and really enjoyed it. Just like PIRANHA 3D IN 2D proofed last week to me, the best g…house throwbacks are those, who try to be modern movies and don’t add fake scratches, a phony 80’s synthie score or try to convince you otherwise, that this was some kind of “forgotten classic” from 30 years ago.

  56. I saw this a few nights ago not knowing shit beforehand, except that Nic Cage was in it, the girl from Pineapple Express was in it, and it was originally shot in 3D. That was a perfect amount of knowledge to have, because I really, really loved it.

    Of course, the only real drawback was there was no Uncaged Nic Cage, as you’ve pointed out. But still, very enjoyable. A dollar rental from Redbox? Shit, I would have even paid TWO dollars.

  57. I’m a big Amber Heard supporter over here, and not because she is stupefyingly good looking.

    The woman was intelligent and genuine when I interviewed her for Drive Angry at comic-con a few years back. She had real answers that didn’t seem like rehearsed prat and I actually believe that she took parts in The Rum Diaries and The Informers because she was a fan of the books.

    I also really respect that she came out of the closet recently. That takes some guts, not just to admit publicly, but also to admit publicly while you’re still being sold as a sexpot. Sure, she’s pretty much the *ultimate* in lipstick lesbianism anesthetics, but that doesn’t seem like a career move, ala some actresses claims of bisexuality, so much as it seems like a political statement.

    I adore her and will watch a movie specifically because of her inclusion in the cast. There are very few actors/actresses for whom this is true.

  58. D. Lambert: if I remember correctly the protagonist in the classic late 19th century novel Against Nature also had a jeweled turtle, but it died shortly after the jeweling process. which means one of the following statements are probably true:
    1) that lady is a very literate fibber
    2) she is telling the truth, and Nic Cage is very literate, and crazy
    3) she is telling the truth, and Nic Cage has never heard of this book, and is really really crazy

  59. Man, after reading that interview above where Cage sorta promises CRAZY things in this movie it makes it even more disappointing. Not that it was bad – just kinda dull in spots and not as wild as it should have been, skull-beer drinking notwithstanding. And maybe the 3D looked good in the theatre but in 2D HD at home the special effects like the liquid nitrogen truck looked bad. Like Syfy bad.

    Amber Heard is easily the best thing about it though – like her performance in The Ward, she’s been blessed with a great, strong voice and she’s instantly likable and has gravitas in a role you don’t expect to find any. I do think the movie might have cheated with her being “promiscuous” though – she picks the dude up at the bar and in the next scene only he is naked while he’s painting her toenails, and he seems impatient like “wait when are we going to fuck?” I think they might have been implying she didn’t have any intent to sleep with him but i’m not sure who picks up dudes to get them naked and paint their toenails.

    Oh I also like how Cage yells out “who do you think you are, Baron Samedi??” to Fichtner during the car chase. It’s a rare Cage-ism in a pretty subdued performance.

Leave a Reply





XHTML: You can use: <a href="" title=""> <img src=""> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <b> <i> <strike> <em> <strong>