There is something about Nicholas Cage that keeps me going to see his movies regardless of how bad they are. This one was particularly bad; generally it wouldn’t be a problem in a Nick Cage movie but somehow not even his absurd levels of comic intensity could save this train wreck. I blame the scrip and the execution but surprisingly not the acting. When Nick Cage is bad he can be bad enough to make it good; here his performance is good enough that it looks serious. Not a good sign when you expecting a great bad movie.
So yeah this film is a mediocre bad movie, but it is still not a terribly bad movie. There is a slight difference.
The film opens with a series of sieges and battle, supposedly set during the crusades. The battles focus on two crusaders played by Nicholas Cage and Ron Perlman. I don’t remember their names but suffice to say that Cage and Perlman sack, wreck, storm, fight, kill, slay, behead, disembowel, through out this sieges for about a decade or two. They seem to be having fun; until one day Cage’s character has a moral revelation and decides the killing must stop. Perlman’s character agrees and both amigos go off to retirement. Or so they think…
They soon arrive to the town of the opening title sequence where three women had been hung for suspicion of witchcraft. Since deserting the crusade is technically sin both friends are in need of returning to the Church’s good graces so they volunteer to escort the last witch (Claire Foy) to a monastery were she can be held in trial, maybe exorcised; I’m not sure which, but there is a book in the monastery that is crucial for the task. So off they go accompanied by a priest, and a squire (cause all knights need one) hauling the witch on a cage across Eastern Europe.
This could have provided for an interesting premise, or sufficiently interesting for Cage and Perlman to lift it up. But the film underplays itself for the first half. And when it finally takes off in the second half it takes the opposite direction of what would have been clever, and probably more entertaining. The fact that neither of the friends makes a pass on the witch was somehow disappointing. They are men of faith but everyone is susceptible to temptation. For a moment Cage’s character seems to doubt the girl is actually witch, but it turns out the twist is much lamer than what you’d expect. You just won’t guess it because it is just that lame.
Claire Foy is attractive; she spends half the movie half naked and is not half bad an actress. The movie could have had much better use of her and given her a better chance in her first feature. The movie could have also made much better use of Nicholas Cage, and Ron Perlman. Nicholas Cage is the only person intense enough to star in a movie entitled Drive Angry in 3D. This film is a dry understatement when it should have been a mix of Agent Provocateur's ad campaign of the same name:
to make a film of complete badassery. I don't know maybe my expectations were a bit too high.