The Sights & Sounds of Driving Angry

March 3, 2011 | By

Yes, this shot is real.

It’s clear Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez put their own personal stamp on the grindhouse or exploitation genre with their respective Grindhouse films in 2007 via Death Proof and Planet Terror, respectively, but neither film was particularly good, and most fans seemed to agree the fake trailers were the best parts of what was an audacious attempt to create little homages to the sleazy, violent films the two directors love so much (plus me , too).

Rodriguez’ effort, Planet Terror, felt like a sick & slimy Italian horror film shot very quickly somewhere in the U.S. with familiar American faces, but as happens with the director’s films, story and script don’t always get the attention they deserve.

Sure, you can argue it’s supposed to be loose and fun, but if you scraped away all the dirty visuals, jump cuts and weird elements like an amputee girl outfitted with a machine gun peg-leg, Planet Terror kind of meandered.

Tarantino’s Death Proof, in turn, has a spectacular car crash and chase in the finale, but everything in between is bitchy characters bitching for long sessions, and there’s just not enough Car. If it’s about a Car that can smash-up other Cars without killing its driver, there should be Action, not indulgent dialogue scenes that tested the willpower of QT’s fans.

Maybe the two films could’ve benefitted from a little bit of Nicolas Cage instead of ensemble casts yapping away for interminable periods.

Now, Patrick Lussier isn’t the strongest horror director out there, but he finally found the ideal project where he showed some directing chops. Cage, Amber Heard (star of All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, still under a 5-year quarantine lockup courtesy of the Weinsteins), and William Fichtner sell the goofy dialogue, but there are many Cars, much driving, and many screeching tires and gunfire, which is why Drive Angry 3D is a better, stronger, and faster film than the aforementioned Grindhouse diptych.

I’ve uploaded a film review [M] of Lussier’s movie, which was shot using the Red camera, and in a true 3D format instead of all this re-rendering nonsense that creates COAPS – Cranial Orbital Aches & Pains Syndrome. That’s when the images come off all fuzzy, the colours are weak, and you get little tiny pains from behind your eyeballs and experience visions of floating cucumbers with Cyclops eyes and bad breath.

Go ahead. Google it, because it’s real.

If you catch Drive Angry in theatres, you’ll also be treated to 3D trailers for Sucker Punch, Priest, and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. Oh, and a flat trailer for Fast Five, the necessary fifth film in the Fast & Furious franchise because the world never tires of Dominic Toretto’s exploits in automoboobles.

Also uploaded is an interview with composer Michael Wandmacher [M], who scored Drive Angry with plenty of angry bluegrass music. My review of the soundtrack album will be in an upcoming Rue Morgue issue, but in four words: the score is excellent.

Coming next: a review of the still difficult-to-digest Steven Spielberg film version of Alice Walker’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Color Purple, now out in a gorgeous Blu-ray edition from Warner Home Video, plus an early Spielberg TV movie, 1972’s pre-Poltergeist [M] spooky house film, Something Evil.

This is where I make a loud ‘Moo-hoo Ha-ha!’ sound, but feel free to use your own variation.



Mark R. Hasan, Editor

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