Reel Critics: 'Drive Angry' could be Nicolas Cage's career killer

Nicolas Cage became famous for his distinctive work in offbeat movies like "Raising Arizona," "Red Rock West" and "Leaving Las Vegas."

But for many years now, Cage has been earning big paychecks doing a Bruce Willis imitation in several action thrillers of mixed quality. His new release, "Drive Angry," seems to be the latest effort by Cage to make the worst B-movie of his career.

Over-the-top acting is just the first flaw in this nasty potboiler. Cage plays John Milton, a former low-life who starts the film already dead in Hell. He escapes the fiery realm to avenge the death of his daughter. Amber Heard is the hot blonde he picks up to play his pretty sidekick. What follows purports to be a supernatural romp, but it's full of grisly violence played for sick laughs.

There are dozens of slow-motion explosions. Killers crack jokes while blowing their victim's brains out. It's full of endless noise, fury and mean-spirited nonsense. Watching this movie is as obnoxious and pointless as listening to a 90-minute interview with Charlie Sheen.

It's dreadful and ridiculous on every level.



There's something about "Hall Pass" that makes me feel so sad for the Farrelly brothers. Like the guys in the movie who long to relive their glory days, these filmmakers have gone from "Dumb and Dumber" to lame and lamer. 

Owen Wilson and Jason Sudeikis play mild-mannered dorks who are convinced that, if they weren't married, they could still have their pick of all the babes they see. They don't realize yet how lucky they were to find great women to marry them.

Their wives (Jenna Fischer and Christina Applegate) get fed up and decide to just give them a pass on marriage for a week and let them sow their wild oats. 

What starts as a mildly amusing premise (the guys hit Applebee's for their first wild night on the town) soon sinks into adolescent jokes about body parts, stupid slapstick and a new, decidedly gross low in toilet humor. 

Stick around if you can to the ending credits for a truly funny sequence, when pal Stephen Merchant imagines getting his own hall pass. Too little, too late for us.

JOHN DEPKO is a retired senior investigator for the Orange County public defender's office. He lives in Costa Mesa and works as a licensed private investigator.

SUSANNE PEREZ lives in Costa Mesa.

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