Drive Angry: Special Edition (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
May 26, 2011 by Dennis Amith
A film that is an ode to grindhouse B films… Overall, “Drive Angry” is a Nic Cage popcorn action film that is over-the-top, crazy as hell, but will definitely appeal to those who appreciate these type of films. As for the Blu-ray, awesome PQ and AQ… if you enjoyed this film, then this Blu-ray is for you!
Images courtesy of © 2011 MR Films, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: Drive Angry: Special Edition
FILM RELEASE DATE: 2011
DURATION: 105 minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (widescreen 1:78:1), English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH, Espanol
RATED: R (Strong Brutal Violence Throughout, Grisly Images, Some Graphic Sexual Content, Nudity and Pervasive Language)
COMPANY: Summit Entertainment
RELEASE DATE: May 31, 2011
Directed by Patrick Lussier
Written by Todd Farmer, Patrick Lussier
Produced by Rene Besson, Michael De Luca
Executive Producer: Boaz Davidson, Danny Dimbort, Joe Gatta, Avi Lerner, Diego J. Martinez, Trevor Short
Co-Producer: Ed Cathell III
Music by Michael Wandmacher
Cinematography by Brian Pearson
Edited by Devin C. Lussier, Patrick Lussier
Casting by Nancy Nayor
Production Design by Nathan Amondson
Art Direction by Zach Bangma, William Bude
Set Decoration by Kristin Bicksler
Nicolas Cage as Milton
Amber Heard as Piper
William Fichtner as The Accountant
Billy Burke as Jonah King
David Morse as Webster
Todd Farmer as Frank
Christa Campbell as Mona
Charlotte Ross as Candy
Tom Atkins as Cap
Jack McGee as Fat Lou
Katy Mixon as Norma Jean
In the high-octane, action-adventure DRIVE ANGRY, Nicolas Cage stars as an undead felon who breaks out of hell to avenge his murdered daughter and rescue her kidnapped baby from a band of cult-worshipping savages. Joined by tough-as-nails Piper (Amber Heard), the two set off on a rampage of redemption, all while being pursued by an enigmatic killer (William Fichtner) who has been sent by the Devil to retrieve Milton and deliver him back to hell.
A surreal, vicious, action-packed, in-your-face type of non-horror film that can only come from horror film team of Patrick Lussier and Todd Farmer. A grindhouse film that you’ll either love or hate!
“Drive Angry” is a film that no doubt is violent, bloody but it’s one of those films that popcorn action fans will dig into, but a tad more viciousness than one is used to seeing. Director Patrick Lussier (“My Bloody Valentine”, “Dracula 2000”, “The Prophecy 3: The Ascent”) and Todd Farmer (“Halloween 3”, “Jason X”, “The Messengers”) set out to do a 3D film that was not horror-based, focused on more action and violence.
Starring Nicolas Cage (“Con Air”, “Face/Off”, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice”), Amber Heard (“Never Back Down”, “Zombieland”), William Fichtner (“Black Hawk Down”, “Crash”), Billy Burke (“Twilight” films, “Fracture”) and David Morse (“The Green Mile”, “The Hurt Locker”, “Contact”).
“Drive Angry” is about a dead man named John Milton (played by Nicolas Cage) who broke out of Hell after seeing reality through the pain of loved ones (part of the penalty of being in Hell) of his daughter being slaughtered by satanic cult leader Jonah King (played by Billy Burke) and seeing him kidnap her daughter.
Now, Milton wants the baby and he wants King dead.
As Milton goes to look for King, he stops by a diner where he sees a beautiful waitress named Piper (played by Amber Heard) who doesn’t put up with any crap but yet can be compassionate. When Piper’s car is messed up, Milton helps her fix it in return for a ride. While Milton goes on to look for King and Piper goes back home to her fiance, she sees him having sex with a woman and enraged, Amber beats her up and also punches her fiance. But in return, he roughs her up and threatens to kill her and punches her until she is knocked out cold.
Milton sees this and saves her life by beating her fiance up and taking the car and Piper with him, as he goes on his search for Jonah King.
Meanwhile, a man known as the Accountant (played by William Fichtner), who is from hell and is sent to bring Milton back by all means necessary.
As Milton and Piper drive and both agree to help each other get to their destination, they stop by a bar/hotel. Sure enough, Jonah King is there and he has brought a bunch of his henchman to kill Milton, to add to that, the Accountant gets the State Troopers to also go to the same area to kill Milton.
While having sex with a waitress named Candy (played by Charlotte Ross), Milton is able to kill all the henchman and as for Piper, trying to help Milton, she ends up killing the state troopers and now will be wanted by authorities.
Now both, Milton and Piper become the hunted as King’s satanic worshippers, the Accountant and now the state police are after both of them. Will they survive this ordeal and will Milton save his granddaughter from Jonah King?
“Drive Angry” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1) and the picture quality of this film is fantastic! Vibrant colors during the daylight, obviously special effects tailored for 3D, black levels are nice and deep and plenty of detail from Milton’s “God Killer” weapon, clothing detail to the mangled bloody visual effects and makeup from the gun and rifle shots.
If there is one problem, it’s with certain scenes that were tailored for the 3D, watching it non-3D, some of the special effects can come out quite cheesy at times. But for the most part, PQ is very good. I detected no banding, no artifacting, no speckles or edge enhancement nor major DNR, the film looks absolute fantastic on Blu-ray!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Drive Angry” is presented in English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and Espanol Dolby Digital 5.1. As one would expect from an all-out action film, a lot of explosions, a lot of gun shots, rifle shots, cars getting damaged, windows breaking, it’s a pretty active lossless soundtrack. Even the rock music utilizes the surround channels for good effect and also good use of LFE during the more explosive scenes.
The film has a pretty immersive soundtrack and aside from the canned baby cries and horrible ending theme (which sounds like it should be used for a beer commercial), the lossless soundtrack is very good!
Subtitles are presented in English SDH and Espanol.
“Drive Angry: Special Edition” comes with the following special feature:
- Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by filmmakers Patrick Lussier and Todd Farmer. Both give details on each scene, talk about differences of the original screenplay and what you see on screen, the talent and more!
- Deleted Scenes – Featuring two deleted scenes with optional commentary by Patrick Lussier and Todd Farmer.
- Access: Drive Angry – While watching the film, you can get factual information (especially on the vehicles) to interviews with the cast and filmmakers. Unfortunately, those who want to watch these interviews without having to watch the film are out of luck, as you need to watch the whole film and you can not forward through chapters or do a scene selection when watching it in this mode.
“Drive Angry: Special Edition” comes with a foil slip cover case.
You know that feeling when you watch a recent Quentin Tarentino or Robert Rodriguez film where there are surreal situations, plenty of bloody violence and plenty of action?
Well, “Drive Angry” is one of those films but in this case, every character featured are not exactly good people (probably with the exception of the baby), it seems as if every character has blood on their hands and its the way the filmmakers intended this film to be.
“Drive Angry” is a straightup popcorn action film around the same style of films such as “Grindhouse”. A lot of profanity, a lot of violence, a lot of action…if you are into that, then this movie is for you.
There was no goal to make this a deep film, the goal was obviously a grindhouse-type of film. I was actually quite intrigued by the film because I think this was the first film where I have seen the protagonist kill his adversaries while having sex. You just don’t see that in a film.
Also, for Amber Heard’s character of Piper, not only does she kick ass, she’s constantly cussing, sh*t talking and definitely an interesting case of anti-heroine and I have to give credit to both Patrick Lussier and Todd Farmer for not sugarcoating this character. In a scene where Piper is getting kidnapped, instead of showing the character being kidnapped and screaming, Piper doesn’t go down without a fight, she continually kicks and fights and it was good to see this character continually kicking butt throughout the film.
As for Nicolas Cage, it’s Nic Cage…perfectly suited for this kind of film (and I will say this film is much better than “Ghost Rider”) and also, it was good to see William Fichtner as the Accountant, who brings comedy to this film.
While I am sure that “Drive Angry” probably worked ala 3D in the theaters, watching it non-3D, there were some visuals (meant for 3D) that just didn’t translate well when you watch it normally. But for fans of the film, the solid PQ and AQ for this Blu-ray release, should make them happy. I just wished the “Access: Drive Angry” interviews were isolated rather than having to watch the full movie (and I wish one could skip chapters and even forward or rewind during this special feature but you can’t).
Overall, I can appreciate the filmmakers trying to go over-the-top with “Drive Angry”. It’s a grindhouse popcorn action B film. It’s not striving to be anything more than that and I suppose you can say, the filmmakers accomplished that. While many many find this film to be too grotesque, corrupt, bloody and violent, if you are into these type of films, then “Drive Angry: Special Edition” is for you!
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