Every Monday, two Reverse Shotters wipe the weekend from their bleary eyes and engage in a postmortem on the multiplex trash (good or bad) they took in. For the second edition, it’s Drive Angry.
Anton Chekhov once wrote, “One must not put a loaded rifle on the stage if no one is thinking of firing it.” To this, the makers of Drive Angry would hasten to add that one must not have a character vow to drink a beer out of the skull of his vanquished enemy if he’s not actually going to do it.
The lusty manner in which Nicolas Cage gulps down his celebratory beverage is one of a half-dozen good laughs in Patrick Lussier’s neo-grindhouse grab-bag, which is perhaps the most aggressively un-PC big-studio release since 2007’s Shoot ’Em Up. Tastelessness can be a good thing in genre filmmaking—and it’s a full-fledged aesthetic for those post-Verhoevian scoundrels Neveldine/Taylor, who will surely have Cage driving angry in their upcoming Ghost Rider sequel), but it’s less fun when the strain is so palpable. Slashed throats, orgiastic cult meetings, a villain who uses his former lover’s femur as a walking stick (and later, a weapon): it all reeks of effort.