Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Cults & Muscle Cars: Drive Angry

Drive Angry didn’t perform well at the box office, which is a shame. It’s an over-the-top homage to grindhouse (probably the most grindhouse film (not titled "Grindhouse") since The Devil’s Rejects. What Drive Angry’s got that none of the those other recent films have (well, except maybe Planet Terror) is eminent gameableness.

Drive Angry starts in media res with Milton (Nicholas Cage)-- escapee from Hell with a muscle car--getting the best of some thugs and getting information from them before doing them in. Milton is a man with a mission: A Satanic cult leader has kidnapped his granddaughter (after killing his daughter) and plans to sacrifice her on the night of the full moon. Milton's got three nights to track them down to save his grandchild and exact his revenge.

Complicating matters is that Milton himself is being pursued. The smartly dressed and unflappable Accountant (William Fichtner) is after him, sent by Lucifer to bring him back to Hell. The Accountant is unkillable (mostly) and able to convince others (mainly the law) by supernatural means to help him in hunting Milton down.

Milton’s companion through all this mayhem is a former waitress (Amber Heard) whose car he borrows. The two must fight the Accountant, cultists, and law enforcement to reach Milton’s goal. Milton’s also unkillable (he’s already dead) but his best weapon is likewise fugitive from hell: the God Killer--a mystic firearm with three Latin engraved bullets--that could kill the Accoutant if it hit him.

Drive Angry plays like a synthesis of several seventies b-movie types: the car chase film (Vanishing Point, Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry), the revenge film (Rolling Thunder), and the "fight with a Satanic cult" film (Race with the Devil)--plus a comic book supernatural element. Is there a generic grindhouse rpg? No matter; I could see this sort of thing in a modern occult game (like Unknown Armies), but you could probably do it in a post-apocalyptic game easily enough, or even borrow elements (the Accountant, the God Killer) for non-modern settings.

21 comments:

Ka-Blog! said...

Sadly... all of these push my buttons. If I'd known all of this -- I might've watched it earlier.

Will see if I can buy myself a copy.

Tim Shorts said...

Hmm Trey you make this movie sound so much better.

Trey said...

@Ka-Blog! - I left theaters so fast I didn't see it until home video either.

@Tim - Did you see it and not care for it? My descriptions accurate I think, though admittedly elements and execution are two different things.

The Angry Lurker said...

Best review I've heard of this movie, Cage has been doing some shocking stuff lately, will give it a whirl.

BigMike said...

On paper this movie sounds awesome...

Chris said...

Ghost Rider + Gone in 60 Seconds? Sounds like a job for octaNe.

Tim Shorts said...

No I haven't seen it. But when it came out I just dismissed it. Not a Cage fan at all, but now your description has got me interested.

Banacek said...

It sounds like it should be crap but everybody says it's good. I'm going to have to check it out despite my disdain for Nic Cage.

Talysman said...

Haven't seen it (not necessarily a grindhouse fan,) but I've seen one almost like it: The Wraith. About a guy killed by a hot rod gang who comes back from the dead in a Turbo Interceptor, which he uses to get revenge.

And yeah, the game for that kind of stuff is octaNe. It comes with a post-apoc setting, but could be used with any other.

ADD Grognard said...

Finally! Someone recognizes DA as a grind house film (I am a fan, can't help it). Glad to find someone who likes the film besides me :)

Professor Pope said...

Well, now I want to see it! I also detect hints of Preacher (the comic) in your description of the film. Never really connected Preacher and grindhouse, but then don't have much experience with the later.

Trey said...

@Chris & @Talysman - Of course! I don't know why octaNe slipped my mind (well, probably becaue I've never played it) but I have seen it and I do have a pdf somewhere abouts...

@ADD Grognard - You can add my brother to the list of fans as well. He's the one that turned me on to it.

@Prof Pope - Yeah, as I was writing this I thought of the Preacher similarity to (it given covers the same East Texas-Lousiana ground), but I wouldn't have thought of it before. Now that you mention it, I was say there's a lot grindhousey about the Preacher, but it doesn't come across with quite the same feel in the comic. A Preacher movie would ber very grindhouse if done right.

Needles said...

This might also work for Demon The Fallen,Mage,or something else. I however want an old school set of rules that might cover this. Hmm is maybe a Mystery Men game or even Gang Busters if the plot was transposed to the 1930s. CoC might also be a way to go. The concept itself is pretty easy to use in a wide variety of eras.Hell you could use this for a Boot Hill/AD&D cross over if you really wanted to!
Nice Review Tray & thanks for the heads up about this one!

Trey said...

Thanks, Needles. Good thoughts.

Blk Jesus said...

i never even heard of it! they should have advertised moree

Johnathan Bingham said...

I'll have to check it out. I was a big Cage fan prior to him doing Con Air and all the crap that followed. Red Rock West, Wild at Heart, Raising Arizona, Peggy Sue Got Married, I really dug those (especially Wild at Heart).

JimShelley said...

Sounds like a good candidate for a movie night with my Father-In-Law! I like that Hollywood cast an Accountant as a villain.

greg said...

With all these new muscle cars coming out it gives us all a new look at the modern day muscle cars. I happen to own a 87 camaro and love every minute of it and had the opportunity to test drive a new 2011 camaro that was whipple supercharged. let me tell you it was a completely different beast I loved every minute of it and cant wait for the new camaro coming out next year. I am excited to see this movie

egopoisoning.com said...

Can't believe you dropped media res but skipped the chance to employ in flagrante delicto in your synopsis! It's so rare you can get away with trotting that one out. You even used a picture from the scene!

I just re-watched Drive Angry on DVD, having also seen it in 3d while it was in theaters. It was even better than I remembered it, mostly due to Fichtner's performance. The Accountant is the sort of character I'd love to follow in a graphic novel format.

Something with a bit of a similar flavor, if you haven't read it, is Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey. It replaces a bit of the grindhouse aesthetic with some late 80s punk sensibility, but the plot is...well I'll be honest, plot's damn near identical. Less driving, more awesome historical figure is an immortal. Unlike Drive Angry, though, Sandman Slim has the time to explore and develop its own internal mythology...and the results really work.

Trey said...

I thought about that, but ultimately decided to leave that part out. Probably a mistake ;)

I've read Sandman Slim and enjoyed it, though its smart aleck first person narration did wear a bit. Still, I'd agree it mines some of the same territory and gets to flesh it out more.

egopoisoning.com said...

The character didn't wear for me, but that might have been attributable to my reading the Kate Daniels series (Magic Bites, Burns, Strikes, and whatever the last one is) at the same time. Since that series is much more firmly entrenched in the Romance genre---with a "tough" female character who fought being in love with the only love interest she's provided for four flippin' books---I appreciated Slim's general lack of illusions, combined with his dedication to the memory of his dead lover and the way he handled those feelings with violence and alcohol.

When I think "smart aleck" I think Dresden (whom I also love, natch); Slim was more of an asshole, but an asshole I could appreciate. I'm chomping at the bit to pick up the next book when it hits paperback in a few weeks.