In the vein of the Quentin Tarantino-Robert Rodriguez throwback extravaganza Grindhouse, Patrick Lussier's Drive Angry aims to entertain through sheer ridiculousness. Filled with over-the-top set pieces, hammy dialogue and (intentionally?) cheesy special effects, the film succeeds admirably in places while failing miserably in others at providing an over-the-top ride.
The story (as if it really matters) follows John Milton, a man who clearly has an axe to grind - or rather a gun to fire repeatedly - over the death of his daughter and the kidnapping of his granddaughter. To get revenge he has broken out of hell (as you do...) much to the annoyance of "the devil's right hand man" a.k.a. The Accountant (William Fichtner). While on his travels to find the one responsible for woes, he meets up with a former waitress (Amber Heard) who wants to escape her life under the control of her cheating, abusive husband.
As I said, the plot doesn't really matter here as the attention and focus is clearly placed on the exaggerated action and visuals. This is where the film both succeeds and fails. There are definitely moments when the ridiculousness of it all is why it's fun, whether it be body parts being blown off all over the place (and flying out of the screen at us overblown 3D) or slow motion shoot-outs that are as preposterous as they are enjoyable. However, there are other moments (and these unfortunately make up the majority) where the ridiculousness is just plain silly, so silly in fact that they cease to be enjoyable and are simply eye-rolling.
Nicolas Cage - the half-terrible-half-fantastic actor who seems to have split personality when it comes to choosing roles - is thankfully on the right side of ridiculous here, turning the overblown up to 11. He is clearly having a lot of fun playing this role, spouting dialogue that wouldn't be out of place in a cheap video game and blasting away anything with a pulse that happens to step into his peripheral vision.
That is except for, of course, the young woman who inadvertently joins him on his mission for revenge. Although Heard joins in on the action more than one would think, she is merely there to provide eye-candy for the male audience which, let's face it, will make up most of those watching the film. The film often verges dangerously close to being plain sleazy with how it portrays her character but thankfully never crosses the line, keeping that sort of attitude for the violence.