‘Drive Angry 3D’ Review

Published 4 years ago by , Updated March 3rd, 2014 at 7:05 am,

amber heard drive angry movie review Drive Angry 3D Review
Screen Rant’s Vic Holtreman reviews Drive Angry 3D

Yes, I realize that Nicolas Cage is the star of the Drive Angry movie – but I thought you might prefer a picture of Amber Heard to represent the film. And lets get this out of the way: She doesn’t get naked in the movie. Why would I point that out you ask? Because Drive Angry is that kind of movie.

Nicolas Cage is on a mission – and he escapes from Hell itself (in an opening sequence that looks more video game than anything else) in order to accomplish it. Director Patrick Lussier wastes no time whatsoever introducing us to just what sort of film this is, with a scene in which Cage (playing a fellow named Milton) takes down three rough-hewn rednecks without much trouble at all. By the time we’re about five minutes into the film we know it’s going to be filled with cheesy (in a good way) one-liners, more f-bombs than you can count, and tons o’ violence and gore. It takes about another five minutes before we get to the sex and nudity (not complaining, just saying). Drive Angry isn’t rated R – it’s RATED R.

We are soon introduced to Piper (played by the gorgeous Amber Heard). She’s a southern, hot, foul-mouthed yet compassionate gal (who wants to be married) who happens to be engaged to a guy who causes her to hesitate (a lot) when asked whether “he’s a good man” (within about 60 seconds of the question being asked she and the audience get the answer). Piper and Milton are thrown together when he comes to her rescue and because he is in need of the ’69 Charger she drives. He’s in a hurry to catch up with a cult leader (played by Billy Burke, who also played Bella’s dad in the Twilight films) before the next full moon for reasons that are made clear soon enough.

Milton is gentlemanly enough with Piper and he seems to be more than a bit behind the times (he refers to a cell phone as a “portable phone”). However he is not someone to cross and does not hesitate to kill to defend himself. He actually does so in a scene that I won’t spoil, but is about as wild a shootout, uh, situation as I’ve ever seen in a film.

william fichtner drive angry Drive Angry 3D Review

William Fichtner in 'Drive Angry 3D'

Tracking him we have William Fitchner as “The Accountant,” and he is without a doubt the best thing in this movie. Fitchner does a lot of supporting role work, and you might best remember him as the mob-connected bank manager in the opening scenes of The Dark Knight. The man is obviously having such a great time in this movie, but he manages to contain it just enough to where you feel like you’re sharing an inside joke with him. He’s funny, dry and some of the subtle expressions that travel across his face put a grin on mine just thinking about it. If there’s one thing that might tempt me to see this film again, it’s his character and performance.

Amber Heard holds her own throughout the film as the tough-as-nails redneck chick – I was actually pretty surprised. Then again, it could be the film that surrounds her that makes her performance seem better than it is… nah, she actually did OK. However, when incredible actor David Morse appears as Webster, Milton’s old friend, the comparison is jarring. Within seconds (literally) Morse completely owns the scenes in which he appears with Cage and Heard and it just makes the differences in performance quite glaring.

Tom Atkins also has a small role in the film, and he chews up the scenery like it’s the last, best film he’ll ever do – really over the top – but again, it’s the sort of performance that makes you smile. And while Billy Burke is my favorite thing about the Twilight movies, here, while he delivers a suitably evil bad guy, he seems one-dimensional to me – although I suppose it’s a fit for a movie of this type.

nic cage drive angry Drive Angry 3D Review

Nicolas Cage in a scene from 'Drive Angry 3D'

And then we come to Nicolas Cage. I know there’s a lot of hate for the guy out there (which frankly, I just don’t get), but surprisingly in a movie like this – where you’d expect him to go “full Cage” – he actually plays it low key. I’d have to say this was one of the mildest demonstrations of his performance style that I’ve seen – less over-the-top than his performance in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice – and that was actually quite a surprise. In fact, I might even say I missed seeing his trademark performance… especially in a film where you’d expect it big time. That’s not to say he doesn’t play it cheesy: in the opening scene he let out a line of dialog that was so cliche (on purpose) that it had me laughing out loud.

As to the 3D – there were some interesting uses of it, from the more subtle to the gimmicky overt with bullets and other things flying out of the screen. From me, director Lussier gets big points for shooting the movie using 3D cameras. I’ve gotten so used to bad, post-production 3D that I spend about the first 15 minutes watching a shot in 3D movie looking for the telltale signs of post 3D – until my mind finally settles down and accepts this superior version.

While it drags for just a little bit about 3/4 of the way through, the movie comes back for a big finish and has no illusions about what sort of film it is: A hard-R, violent, raunchy, explicit roller coaster ride – and at that it pretty much succeeds. If you’re easily offended by language, sex and nudity in films, this one is NOT for you. But if you can appreciate a schlocky action-packed B-movie then this might be up your alley. But you’ve been warned, don’t come back here telling me how offended you were by this movie.8)

Here’s a trailer for Drive Angry 3D:


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Our Rating:

3 out of 5

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  1. Love the guy. Amber’s extremely hot. Solid review. I’m watching this.

    • eye im gonna watch this as well next week tho =) and amber is smokin

  2. See, it’s reviews like that that will make me give DA3D the benefit of the doubt…

    Heh. Nice work.

  3. I’m shocked that you would give this a review this good Vic. Very shocked honestly. This looks like it just may easily be the worst film of 2011 it really shocks me beyond belief that you liked it.

    Hell I don’t even hate Cage I’m always one of the lone defenders of the guy i think he’s a great actor just makes a lot of bad chocies and this is no exception. This is just as bad as Piranha 3D.

    I love SR for movie news and open discussion, but I am slowly gravitating away from it when it comes to reviews these days. Hope you don’t take that the wrong way no offense to you personally you do always say that it’s best to find a reviewer that you agree with and you used to be one of the few reviewers I could agree with Vic. That seems to be changing lately we seem to be disagreeing more and more over this last year.

    We’ll always have Serenity lol

    • @Dan – you’ve been around here for a very long time so you know we appreciate your banter so please don’t take this the wrong way…

      The fact that you didn’t like Piranha 3D means you weren’t going to like Drive Angry 3D (I’m assuming you watched it already). The two films are almost completely similar in style based solely on the trailers. If you knew you didn’t like P3D why then would you go watch DA3D? If the answer was “because it was a free showing” then that doesn’t hold too much water to me. I pass up free movies all the time that I know I’m not going to like (Big Mommas 3 I’m looking at you) because ti would just be a waste of my time. Then I’ll check out a review somewhere later just to see how big of a bullet I dodged.

      OK, that out of the way – what DIDN’T you like about the film? If you can’t tell, I personally enjoyed the hell (bad pun) out of it. :)

      • Paul every year I set an unachievable goal for my self to see every movie that was released in over 500 theaters. It seems strange but I like to keep my self in the know as much as I can. I like to know who writes what and who directs what and I can’t really know how much I like it or dislike it unless I see it. I can sit back and say Drive Angry is a terrible film, but if I didn’t see it I really don’t know. I don’t like not knowing how I really feel about it. Plus I like talking about films with friends and here as well and I can’t talk about a film I have not seen. Some people get it some don’t. The only time I purposely skip a movie is if it’s something like a concert film (Justin Bieber), a destruction of a source material of something I love and a sequel to a film I already know I hated. For instance if I hated transformers with a passion I don’t need to see Transformers 2 to know that it’s crap.

        Also I like Nick Cage. He has done a lot of stinkers lately, but I keep watching hoping to see him turn it around.

        I didn’t like everything that I knew I wouldn’t like, but that doesn’t mean that I didn’t hope to be surprised. Sometimes you expect to hate something and go in and end up loving it. Didn’t happen with Drive Angry. I didn’t like the way to far over the top action. I didn’t like the god awful dialogue. I didn’t like the cheesy story and all the campy elements with in it. I didn’t even like Nick cage who even in his worst movies usually wins me over. Easily top 5 worst performances of his career IMO he also just looked absolutely awful. I also found it at times boring. It had an extremely poor script. No narrative. It was horribly trashy and proud of the fact. The majority of the cast seems like they are reading the script as they go and it hardly feel like anyone is acting. It’s about as bad as the god awful Grindhouse.

        Basically I hated everything other than Fichtner’s who was the one shining part of the entire film. His performance was quirky and at times almost brilliant.

        • DanF – You know what that’s fair enough and I can’t really argue with your logic – though I disagree with you on Cage and DA3D. In fact, I sort of agree with most of your points regarding the film but because they were going for a 70s exploitation throwback style with this film I appreciate it for what it is – better or worse I suppose.

          BTW, no way is this one of the top 5 worse Cage performances (Knowing, Bangkok Dangerous, Next, Ghost Rider, Amos and Andrew). Those would be my picks for his worst.

          He does get a bad rap for all the bad films he churns out (dude’s got to earn a paycheck so he can buy a dinosaur skull for his mansion in Scotland:P) but he has also done some great films too – The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans, Kick-Ass, World Trade Center, Lord of War, Snake Eyes, Con Air and the absolute best Raising Arizona.

          Hey aren’t you in Florida somewhere?

          • Paul I have to disagree on Cage. I think most of those performances were better than this one. In fact I actually thought his performance in Ghost Rider was pretty good and personally enjoyed it. Knowing was also a bad film, but I thought Cage was at least Average in it, but in Drive Angry he was just bad.

            I think his best is Leaving Las Vegas an amazing film with a fantastic performance. I also really liked raising Arizona Weather Man, Lord Of war, Con Air, Kick Ass, Adaptation, I liked Ghost Rider, matchstick men also City of Angels.

            No I live in california the other side of the country lol

            • City of Angels was a solid film. One of my favorite Cage films.

              • I’ve always liked Captain Corelli’s Mandolin.

      • From how he worded it, it looks like he’s saying he hasn’t seen it, and doesn’t want to see it.

        He may have been around here for awhile, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t trolling.

        See the movie before you comment on it being possibly the worst film of the year.

        • Not liking a film doesn’t make you a troll and I do apologize if in your mind I worded it wrong, but I’ve already said I saw it. Trolling is more like what you did which was trying to stir up trouble with me rather than talk to me like a mature adult like Paul did. I simply commented on a film that I didn’t like.

          Even if I hadn’t seen it that still would not be trolling. Just because you don’t like what someone has to say that doesn’t automatically make them a troll.

        • Oops. Jumped that gun, didn’t ya.

          • Ink he seems to be hung up on this one line

            “This looks like it just may easily be the worst film of 2011″

            Which I didn’t say because I hadn’t seen it, but rather because I hadn’t seen every other film this year yet so I can’t say for sure if it’s the worst yet or not.

              • Anthony I can tell you if you liked Grind house and Piranha 3D you’ll probably like this. It’s cheesy, campy and B movie esque on purpose. At times it looks almost like it could be a real movie and at other times it makes Evil Dead look like a full release A list film, but it knows it’s campy it knows it’s B movie and it’s damn proud of it.

                However, the acting is awful in it. Only one good performance in the entire film, but he’s great in everything.

                • Yea i think my GF and I will have our first 3D experience this weekend, I like Fichtner and David Morse, been fans of those guys for YEARS. I love movies like this, growing up in the 70′s i guess I am partial to exploitation movies lol.

                  • Anthony Fichtner IMO is the only and I mean only good part of the entire film for me. So you can at least look forward to his performance. He’s very quirky and almost oddly kind of charming in it, but in a weird way.

    • Daniel,

      It’s not that complicated, and I couched my review around the type of movie this is. My reviews aren’t one sentence proclaiming “This sucks, don’t go see it” or “This is awesome, go see it NOW.” I explain what I think is good or bad about the film.

      This is one of those that’s a real pain to review (for me) because within the context of all movies ever made, is it great? Of course not. But that’s not what it’s about – it’s about delivering a pull no punches, outrageous throwback R-rated action movie. I put plenty of effort into making very clear that this is not the usual, present day PG-13 kind of action movie.

      Would some (many?) people find this offensive? Hell yes, and deservedly so. But if you don’t mind that, and get what they’re doing here – I think it’s entertaining for what it is.

      And BTW, there ARE movies that are along this vein that I hate – I saw “Hobo with a Shotgun” (haven’t reviewed it yet) and besides Rutger Hauer’s performance, I thought that was a sick movie and almost walked out.

      Anyway, if you don’t want to go by my reviews any more, I’m not offended. :)


      • Vic I know you go in to detail and that’s good.

        I’m certainly glad your not taking it personally I still respect all you guys just finding that our opinions have seemed to have drifted further apart. I’ve always known that you reviewed with in context of the type of film.

        Also bit off topic, but did you get to see Unknown yet? Was pretty good. Certainly not Taken, but still good charming bad A Liam Neeson fun.

        • I think this will be a movie weekend for me and the GF. Unknown is on my radar. I love the reviews i read here, good or bad. I try not to let them influence my decision making process on whether i see a film or not, I just read them to get an idea of what I am in for when I go see them. I’ll admit I am more than stunned that Vic gave this a good pleasant review, and 3 stars lol. I think it just goes to show one thing:We ALL enjoy the occasional shoot em up, big explosions type movies now and then It might be the kid in all of us.

        • Daniel,

          I haven’t seen Unknown yet, but I want to – maybe this upcoming weekend.


          • Well I get the idea the leads were looking for a payday but do you believe the property itself killed their enthusiasm? Do you think their underlying feelings perhaps detracted from the movie? I can imagine the director telling Cage; Just say the line as written and him giving a quick grit of the teeth and saying, OK this is what you want. I’m also wondering if the line: “Between now and then I’m going to mess you up” is the best line in the picture? Obviously haven’t seen it yet but still haven’t ruled out a look see. Does 3-D tip the decision, I’d probably see the 2-D showing.

            And Vic the first fourth of “Unknown” looks lifted from Polanski’s 88 film “Frantic” with the twists changed up a little. By the time it starts to diverge from Polanski’s work you can tell somethings seriously wrong with Neeson’s story.

  4. So Cage has one of the weakest performances compared to everyone else in the movie, and no doubt is bringing down the biggest salary. He produces yet another one dimensional character and there’s confusion why people dont like him?

    I doubt I’ll ever watch this movie, maybe in a couple years or so I might cave during a moment of sheer boredom, but I predict from my chair without have seen this yet, Cage could have been substituded with just about any other actor out there and the movie might not only have gotten better, but surely with no ill affect.

  5. Great review. Love nic cage. Can’t wait to see this.

  6. I have been visiting Screen Rant daily for the past couple of months. mainly because you focus on the types of movies I like. However, I have noticed something I am not to keen on. It seems the majority of the people who frequently comment on reviews, movies, trailers whatever are just dissing every possible movie they can lay their hands on. DO YOU GUYS ACTUALLY ENJOY MOVIES???? its a constant thing of I hate this and I hate that and he is a crap director blah blah. Movies are for entertainment. That is why they have been made since day one. Don’t forget it fellas. PS i think Drive Angry looks awesome :)

    • So we should only talk about movies we like? That would be kind of boring, don’t you think? Did you enjoy every movie you have ever seen?

      • Kahless he doesn’t realize it, but he’s being very similar to the people he is complaining about. He’s simply complaining for an excuse to complain.

        If everyone only commented on films they liked he’d probably be mad that every time he’s here everyone praises every film and would be like “My god people don’t you have any taste? Do you just like every thing and have no standards”

        God forbid people have certain films they like and certain films they don’t. He’s obviously missing the Inception, The Fighter, True Grit and Kick Ass topics where it’s almost nothing but praise.

        • I would just like to say that I LOVE EVERY MOVIE that’s ever been released. There are NO bad performances in ANY movie. Everyone deserves Oscars!

          Is that better Ewan, are you HAPPY now? Go back to your corner and let the adults debate now, thanks! :)

        • While you guys know I encourage discussion and debate here, I kind of get what Ewan is saying. Sometimes the incessant bashing on a particular director or film months before a movie is even released can get old.


          • That’s just life on the Interwebs Vic. Ewan is acting as if it’s exclusive to SR, but it’s not and in fact it’s a lot better on SR than most sites. On SR it’s mostly just “This looks bad or this actor is terrible.”

            He’s acting as if SR is the only site to do this, but go over to Comic Book Movie or any other major blog site in a similar vein and it’s like “This Movie is *&^*^* and your a piece of ^(*^&^% I hope you Die.”

            Hell over at Comic book a few years ago some guy threatened to kill my mother because I thought Ghost Rider was entertaining.

            • Where does your mother live???

              JK lol

          • What’s just as old as people immediately jumping on someone for posting a negative opinion. Ive not been around much lately precisely because of it. I posted a few negative remarks the otherday and someone right off accused me of hating every movie out there and asked why I bother being a movie fan or some such thing. The problem is people dont see the 4 or 5 positive remarks in other areas of the site.
            THAT gets old fast.

            • I agree, but while I try to moderate to keep things civil, I don’t have the time or inclination to be a kindergarten teacher and scold people dozens of times a day for being buttheads (and that’s not directed at you, it’s in regard to the type of comment you just mentioned).


              • ^ Self proclaimed Butthead here. (The arrow key is pointing at me Vic, not you lol) :)

  7. amanda heard is BEAUTIFUL!!!!! I have an idea for a movie. Her vs Megan fox as spies where one is good and one is bad and they just basically gun fight the whole movie. Yes at times in bikinis (idk why that would be but whatever) and make that 3d…okay so it wouldnt be the greatest achievement in film but it would make alot of money :0

    • You lost me at Megan Fox. :-)

      • His hormones are really messing with his judgement.

  8. @daniel – you didn’t enjoy GrindHouse? that 5 1/2 hour double feature (w/ intermission & all) was the absolute most fun i’ve ever had in a movie theater. i saw it three times.

    • The first feature was OK at best and that second feature was so boring I nearly tore my eyes out. A movie about women talking about men? Yeah, that’s fun! The last act was pretty good, but you had to get through all the boring talking.

    • No I didn’t like it. I in fact hated it so much that it almost makes me cry just knowing that anyone liked it it was one of the worst movies I’d seen in my entire life and if I ever actually was in the home of someone who owned it I would beg them to let me melt it in a fire and save the world some trouble.

  9. Love how you sum it up Vic :D

  10. I wouldn’t mind seeing this, I have an appreciation for the cheesy B movie, and I’m a huge fan of Cage, but I think I’d rather see Unknown if it came down to that.

    • I’ll see both, Drive Angry looks to good to pass up, as does Unknown.

      • Seeing both costs too much money, Drive Angry is in 3D and therefore nearly twice the price of going to see Unknown. But Drive Angry is out and Unknown isn’t. I can’t take the choices!

  11. Gheeesh all the drama,,,

    This looks great,,, oooh too bad its in 3D,,,

    All wait for the dvd, screw you studios!!! :)

  12. 790, why not just see it in 2D?

    • I don’t think it’s formatted for 2D or i can’t find a theater here in San Diego that has it in 2D.

  13. Gary, I live in LA so unless I get invited to a screening, I have to choose my theaters very carefully. There’s only a handful of cities that I would sit in a theater with human lifeforms. Pasadena is tops on my list, Woodland Hills no 2. Both of those cities contain state of the art digital theaters. They don’t offer top billed 3D films in 2D,,,

  14. Vic, I wouldn’t let any negative feedback get to ya.
    Don’t like his reviews, go and produce your own website. Good luck on your timing,,,
    I disagree with a lot of stuff, but never the reviews. Its a review, read it and come to grips with it. H sheert

  15. Unknown > Drive Angry 3d

  16. Wow, Drive Angry was number 9 and only made about $5 million in its debut. I still would like to see it though.

  17. @ Daniel F, Kahles and Anthomy. Sorry if i offended you guys with my statement. it was not just directed at you but in general. Its not always fun to read bad comments everywhere, but sadly you are right. they are EVERYWHERE on the internet and on SR its not THAT bad. Healthy debate is always welcome and i encourage it 100%. I also hate some movies, BUT I dont go around and say to someone how dare you like this movie its pure sh#t just because I dont like it. If person x likes it, fair enough I will respect that. Which brings me to Anthomy. You were unnecessary with that sarcastic comment of yours. I tried to give a positive comment in general that we must all loosen up a bit. that was all. i did not appreciate what you said. To the rest of you enjoy your movies (good or bad) LONG LIVE SCREENRANT!

    • Ewen to be fair though it asked to be asked who are you to tell us what we all need to do?

  18. It didn’t help it was ONLY released in 3d

  19. I saw this with a couple guys from work: one who really likes Nic Cage and the other one who was planing on making fun of a bad movie… just like me. We all came away really liking it. I was prepared for a popcorn flick that would have me laughing just about how bad it was. That was confirmed by that opening sequence, but then it just came into its own. I couldn’t describe what it was but your line Vic: “…yearn for a balls to the wall, take no prisoners B-movie” hits it right on the head.

    Plus this was the best use of 3-D I’ve ever seen in a live-action movie. I was surprised by Cage’s restrained performance. I love Fitcher’s character: he was the best part of the movie. Billy Burke seemed genuinely creepy to me at parts and way too campy in others. The soundtrack was really really good. That tied the movie together nicely. I’d see it again if I had the chance.

    • Thanks, Jess, that’s always nice to hear. :)


  20. I’d see Drive Angry tomorrw, if it wasn’t in 3D,,,


  21. I wasn’t offended by the movie but by your review’s first sentence. When you write, and use the word “you,” do you imagine only men will be reading?

    • LOL, guess that didn’t occur to me – but I *did* assume the target audience for this film is guys.


  22. Can somebody answer this please?

    The only reason I wen to see this was because I kept reading about an awesome opening shot of Cage riding out of Hell.

    This didn’t happen in the cut I watched. He rode back in to Hell at the end, but there was no Outbound scene in the film!!

    I was SO disappointed. In mine, the film opened with Cage chasing the bad guys and then shot them all and made the car explode etc.

    Is this because I’m in Britain? Can anyone else in Britain confirm if they saw the same cut or not??

    What the hell happened? (Pun absolutely intended!)

    • Steve,

      In the U.S. I did see a scene of him escaping Hell – it was done during the opening credits and just so you know, it was VERY similar to the closing scene, except in reverse, so you didn’t really miss anything.


      • Damn I can’t believe it.

        Opening credits? Bloody hell you guys must have had a vastly different cut to what I saw…Mine opened up with Cage chasing down the guys, killing them and the title Drive Angry appeared to the right of Cage during the explosion shot.

        But no, we didn’t get the Hell opening scene :( Hope it’s on the DVD though. Why do you think the scene was cut (overseas?)?

        • Steve,

          Wow, that’s interesting… didn’t know they changed that, and I don’t see the point. However it didn’t last more than maybe 5-10 seconds so you’re really not missing anything.


  23. Erm, no thanks, Eraser. You have to install programme’s to watch films which is obviously a virus. I’ll stick to cinema thanks.

  24. did Rob Zombie write this movie I mean it was nothing but F bombs and the D**K word I mean come on I don’t mind cussing (I cuss like a sailor on shore leave)but every other word just makes it sound trashy here is what I mean in the first diner scene the blonde chick tell her friend — I cut him off (talking about her boyfriend) no t*ts no A** and if he puts that D**k in my face I’ll bite it in half — i just hate bad movies with bad dialogue oh and the 3D was crap please stop using it I hate 3D

  25. I really enjoy nicholas cage as an actor even tho he has done some shockingly bad films recently, and this is one of the worse if not the worse film i have seen him in up there with season of the witch.
    The story is pointless and i don’t see why he has starred in this waste of space film.
    The worse film i have seen this year, a must to avoid.
    Gave it 1/5 on rating but i’d give it 0.5/5, waste of hour and half.