Drive Angry: Hard-R Hellfire Imagery, Nic Cage in Black Denim
Genre-unto-himself Nicolas Cages latest displays much the same tattoo-parlor hellfire imagery as Ghost Rider, but this is the hard-R version, with Johnny Blazes jellybeans from a goblet in the earlier film now replaced by a cold after-work beer drunk from a human skull. Cage plays a black-denim Gods Lonely Man, a stranger in town on a sworn mission to ride down the cult fronted by Billy Burkes glam-messiah, who has absconded with a baby girl. Hellcat hash-slinger Piper (Amber Heard) comes along for the ride, while a mysterious, unflappable fed called "the Accountant" (William Fichtner) brings up the rear. Cages avenger is named Milton; this reference to the author of Paradise Lost is the sole hint that Old World culture ever existed in Drive Angrys convoy of hyperbolized-unto-parody Americana: bad drawls, obese gawkers, roadhouse demonology, coochie-cutter shorts, and engines revving under guitar stomp. As one cannot discuss Battleship Potemkin without mentioning the Odessa Steps, so, too, with Drive Angry and the gonzo porn-ish scene in which a pack of thugs pull a coitus-interruptus ambush on Milton, who remains docked inside his partner while coolly eliminating his attackers. Ones attention has little occasion to flag, though the closing-credits comedown feels like a Peeing Calvin decal has watered your brain.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Village Voice's biggest stories.