The title of this post could really be read one of two ways. First, Predators and Drive Angry seen separately. Or second, as a statement telling those Predators to go out there and drive angrily. You know, a movie combining Predators and Drive Angry together could be one of the greatest movies of all time. Maybe somebody will figure out a way to edit them together to create a cinematic masterpiece.
As you all know, the original Predator is an 80s classic. One of the best examples of sci-fi and action. It is such a monumentally important film, it blows away Oscar-winning films by comparison. Unfortunately, the Predator franchise has fared even worse than the Alien franchise in terms of churning out horrible sequels. This movie comes 23 years after the original and rightfully ignores the other movies that came in-between.
A group of modern-day warriors are dropped into a mysterious jungle. The group consists of military-types, mob-enforcers, Yakuza, and serial killers. Each has their own weapon and their own style of killing. They hesitantly team up so they can find their way out of the jungle. What happens next is exactly what you expect/want to happen. Predators start hunting and killing them one by one.
Predators works because it doesn’t try to reinvent the franchise. It just uses the good stuff from the original and expands on it. That’s all. It has the suspense, the build-up, the action, and the bloodiness of the original. Instead of one Predator there are several, and it turns out the characters were sent to an alien world which is a big “game preserve” for the Predators. Their focus shifts from survival to getting the hell off the planet. They expanded the Predator mythology a bit to show there are two types of Predators and they don’t exactly get along. The human characters are able to use this to their advantage in order to resolve the fight against superior enemies in a logical fashion.
Overall, just about everything in this movie works. There is some questionable CGI but it isn’t used too much. A few of the characters should have lasted longer but died too soon (e.g. Danny Trejo). The final battle wasn’t much different than the final battle from the original movie. The action is plentiful but not overkill. The acting is pretty damn good including fun performances from Adrien Brody, Laurence Fishburne, and Walton Goggins. And it uses musical cues from the original, which helps it to better tie in to the franchise as a whole.
This movie stars Nicolas Cage as a man who literally escapes from Hell in order to get revenge on an evil cult.
What? You need more than that to justify the verdict? I thought that sentence alone would have done it.
OK, so, Drive Angry is cheesy action cinema at its best. Cage died some years ago. His daughter was murdered by a cult, and that same cult is going to kill his granddaughter as a sacrifice to the Devil. Cage knows all this is going on, because in Hell you see nothing but the suffering of your loved ones. So, he does what anyone would do: escape from Hell in a Buick Riveria (the Devil has good taste in cars), and track down the cult.
What happens next is a series of car chases, shoot-outs, and general mayhem. I was surprised at just how graphically violent this movie is. It doesn’t pull any punches in terms of showing us limbs being blown off, brutal beatings, and even Cage getting shot in the face. Yes, you read that correctly. The goofy, over-the-top violence works in the movie’s favor, firmly cementing in the viewer’s minds that this is a grindhouse movie, and should not be taken seriously. If that doesn’t become apparent to you by the time Cage kills bad guys while having sex, then it never will.
Drive Angry is the perfect movie for that person who loves bad movies. It is a tribute to shitty movies. And the special effects, directing, acting, and editing all are pretty good so you still feel like you’re watching a high-end Hollywood movie. If you’re a fan of action, violence, nudity, and, most importantly, Nicolas Cage, then you’ll like this movie.