A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this gratuitous, over-the-top 3-D action/adventure movie starring Nicolas Cage is packed with grindhouse-style violence, as well as intense/graphic sexual situations, nudity, and language -- all of which is ratcheted up by the 3-D presentation. Things get even iffier when you consider that the "hero" is an escapee from Hell, there's violence against women, and the movie has mages of an infant in danger. In other words? Not for kids!
What's the story?
John Milton (Nicolas Cage) escapes from Hell with a mission: A cult of devil worshippers led by Jonah King (Billy Burke) has murdered his grown daughter and taken her baby. They plan to sacrifice the infant at the next full moon. Milton must hit the road to stop the sacrifice; the fastest car around, a 1969 'Charger, happens to belong to a tough, disgruntled waitress, Piper (Amber Heard), and she joins Milton in his fight. Unfortunately, an "accountant" from Hell (William Fichtner) has been sent to retrieve Milton, and just about everyone around is also trying to stop or kill him. Can Milton rescue the baby in time?
Is it any good?
Directed by Patrick Lussier (My Bloody Valentine), DRIVE ANGRY quickly establishes itself as a no-holds-barred grindhouse experience, fully aware of its own extreme ridiculousness. Within minutes, the hero shoots the hand off of one of his adversaries, and it goes flying toward the audience -- in "glorious" 3-D.
Heard is great fun as the sexy waitress who can take care of herself in a fight; she's tough and resourceful, but it's arguable whether the rest of the movie is quite as interested in the power of women. Many other female characters are victims, and it's hard to watch the baby so close to jeopardy, even if you can buy in to the movie's intentionally preposterous tone. The movie also suffers from being a bit low energy and could have been tightened up a bit. Cage in particular, who has given such gleefully nutty performances in the past (Bad Lieutenant, etc.) seems slightly sleepy. Regardless, the overall package will appeal to adult moviegoers who like this kind of way-over-the-top material.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the movie's extreme violence. How do you think the filmmakers hope audiences will react to it? Why do you think that?
How does the movie portray women? Piper seems to be a strong, self-sufficient character, but what is the movie's attitude toward her? Toward other women? Are there stereotypes here?
The movie has several sexual situations and images of nudity. Are they gratuitous or essential to the movie's plot and/or mood?
- In theaters: February 25, 2011
- On DVD or streaming: May 31, 2011
- Cast: Amber Heard, Nicolas Cage, William Fichtner
- Director: Patrick Lussier
- Studios: Millennium Films, Summit Entertainment
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 104 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong brutal violence throughout, grisly images, some graphic sexual content, nudity and pervasive language
For kids who love action
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.