Monday February 21st 2011
The fact that Nicolas Cage isn’t necessarily the most selective actor in Hollywood has become something of a recurring joke in the leaky basement full of .gifs, memes and cat pictures that is the ‘blogosphere’. Mash-ups are made, screenings are organised and ironic odes to the brilliance of his oeuvre are churned out at an alarming rate.
Whether Cage cultivates his ‘King of Crap’ image for money, renown or simply to piss people off is hard to ascertain, but there’s no doubt that he’s got a motivation beyond ‘Bangkok Dangerous looks like a good movie and I would be honoured to be involved in the project’.
The Golden Years
Despite such a wealth of drivel, Drive Angry is Cage’s first film that seems to be consciously going after the ‘so bad it’s good’ label, and this is where it falls down. Films like The Wicker Man aren’t fun to watch because they were made to be bad, they’re fun to watch because it’s easy to identify where they mistakenly thought they were going so right.
In Drive Angry, the sole aim seems to be to insert as much AWESUM SH!T into the movie as possible to please your Ain’t It Cool types (who duly praised it like the second coming), while retaining a knowing irony that makes you invulnerable to almost any allegation.
It’s this innate cynicism that made it hard for me to join the chorus of whoops that erupted throughout my screening every time the script had Cage bust out a five barrel shotgun, blow up a car or blatantly plagiarise that famous sex scene from Shoot ‘Em Up.
Even viewed on the most base level, the main problem with Drive Angry is that it’s just not particularly enjoyable to watch. Sure, it has a few impressive set pieces (and compared to the endless, lifeless drudgery of Season of the Witch, it’s a veritable funsplosion) but without much in the way of plot, character or even creativity, there just isn’t enough there to sustain 104 minutes.
It’s like watching incredibly explosive paint dry.