Bored Out of Hell: Nicolas Cage in Drive Angry 3D

Didn’t Nicolas Cage already play a guy who escaped from hell? What movie was that? Didn’t “Con Air” guy escape from hell? What about that “Bangkok Dangerous” hitman character? “Ghost Rider?” I don’t remember or really care. Nicolas Cage is the only actor on the planet who could so nonchalantly play a guy who escaped from hell and leave you wondering if he’s done it before.
“Drive Angry 3D” stars Nicolas Cage as John Milton and if you get the reference in the name you are not likely the target audience for this movie; an almost delicious bit of irony. Milton, as he prefers to be called as John is just too ordinary, is hunting for a cult leader (Billy Burke) who murdered his daughter and has taken Milton’s baby granddaughter hostage with the intent on sacrificing her in order to literally raise hell to earth.

How intent is Milton on saving his grandbaby? Well, he literally escaped from hell and to top that off, he stole Satan’s very own God Killer shotgun. After torching his own muscle car in order to kill some bad guys, Milton needs a ride. Enter Piper (Amber Heard) who has a 69 Charger and enough bad attitude to match Milton bad guy for bad guy.

Together Milton and Piper set out on the cult leader’s trail all the while being tracked themselves by a cryptic man in a suit who calls himself ‘The Accountant’ (William Fichtner). We will learn by the end that ‘The Accountant’ works for the Dark Lord Satan but whether he is out to help or hinder Milton’s quest is debatable until the end.

“Drive Angry 3D” is directed with great energy by Patrick Lussier who brought a similar edgy, low brow, ugliness and grit to his remake of “My Bloody Valentine.” Unfortunately, that film was a million times more inventive than anything in “Drive Angry 3D” which plays like a series of car chases broken up by Nicolas Cage grunting and standing slump shouldered, lost in thoughts none of us could even imagine.

Cage brings zero humor to the role of Milton and co-star Amanda Heard is similarly far too earnest for this material. “Drive Angry 3D” cries out for the kind of over the top Nicolas Cage that drove his “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans” to heights of manic, lunatic, craziness. Instead, a subdued Cage in “Drive Angry 3D” cannot make even a scene of fully clothed love making while shooting bad guys work as a comic set piece.

There is a good deal of effort on display in “Drive Angry 3D,” especially from Director Patrick Lussier, but not from Cage who has often looked bored on screen but rarely has he been this restrained. “Drive Angry 3D” has the elements in place for some goofball, B-Movie fun but Cage refuses to have any fun and the movie sinks under the weight of his seriousness.