A Fierce Nicolas Cage Supernatural Thriller Is Streaming For Free
The 2011 Nicolas Cage movie Drive Angry is streaming for free (with ads) on Tubi.
The common wisdom about Nicolas Cage is that there is no predicting what direction his career will take at any given moment, and there is an element of truth to that. However, the one tried and true prediction you can generally make about the Ghost Rider actor is that if someone approaches him with a weird supernatural action thriller, he will at least be intrigued. One of the most fun of those particular Nicolas Cage movies, 2011’s Drive Angry, is currently streaming for free (with ads) on Tubi.
Drive Angry stars Nicolas Cage as John Milton, a mysterious loner who drives muscle cars and kills bad guys with the grim efficiency of a Terminator. Though the movie takes a surprisingly long time to say it outright, Cage’s character is a dead man who has escaped from Hell with Satan’s own gun (called the Godkiller) and is bent on rescuing his infant granddaughter from a satanic cult led by Billy Burke. Along the way, he partners up with a tough former waitress (Amber Heard) and is pursued by the Accountant (William Fichtner), an even-tempered, somewhat snide demon tasked with capturing escaped souls.
In many ways, Drive Angry has a lot in common with Nicolas Cage’s turn as Marvel’s Spirit of Vengeance. Both Johnny Blaze and John Milton are entangled with Satanic forces and use dark forces to their own ends. Both are on missions of vengeance, though Milton’s is a little less specialized than Ghost Rider’s eternal existence. Both favor overpowered American-made vehicles.
However, unlike Ghost Rider, Drive Angry is an original story by director Patrick Lussier and co-writer Todd Farmer, both veterans of a certain kind of macho action horror of the early 2000s like Jason X and Dracula 2000. At no point does the film ever rise above the level of comic book badassery, most exemplified by a scene in which Nicolas Cage has sex with a woman while fully clothed and gunning down Satanic cultists. It is simultaneously the high and low point of the film, being both wonderfully cheesy and wincingly dumb.
Fortunately for the two, they managed to snag two secret weapons in Nicolas Cage and William Fichtner. If there was ever a duo of character actors meant to face off against each other, it is these two. Cage’s monosyllabic grittiness is utterly without irony, while Fichtner’s crisp, casually detached performance is somehow fitting for how it stands outside of every other aspect of the film.
Drive Angry was released at the height of the early 2000s mania for 3D movies, going so far as to bill itself as “SHOT in 3D” on the posters. However, it tanked at the theaters, not even making back its $45 million budget and reportedly being the lowest-grossing wide-release 3D movie ever. It was also part of a run of big-budget Nicolas Cage flops like The Sorcerer’s Apprentice and Astro Boy that pushed him into a decade of generic direct-to-DVD action films until his recent critical resurgence.
But to its credit, Drive Angry is absolutely not generic; no movie that has Nicolas Cage drinking beer out of a skull and ends with a Meat Loaf song could ever be that.