US Box Office: February 25 – 27, 2011

1. Gnomeo & Juliet – $14,200,000

2. Hall Pass – $13,400,000

3. Unknown – $12,400,000

4. Just Go With It – $11,100,000

5. I Am Number Four – $11,000,000

6. Justin Bieber: Never Say Never – $9,200,000

7. The King’s Speech – $7,700,000

8. Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son – $7,600,000

9. Drive Angry 3D – $5,100,000

10. True Grit – $1,900,000

Review: Drive Angry 3D (2011)

Drive Angry 3D follows Milton (Nicolas Cage), a hardened felon who has broken out of hell in order to save his baby granddaughter from being sacrificed to a satanic cult, led by the man who murdered his daughter, Jonah King (Billy Burke).

Teaming up with young sexy-smart waitress, Piper (Amber Heard), Milton must put the cult to an end while outrunning the advances of an enigmatic killer known only as The Accountant (William Fichtner), who is sent from hell to bring Milton back.

Patrick Lussier has elevated his My Bloody Valentine craft to an even trashier level, with the accentuation on uninspired tones, sexy woman and fast cars contriving that 70’s exploitation feel, throwing carnage at the screen with delirious exuberance.

He keeps the pacing tight, conforming to the ticking clock aspect of the plot and lets the film advance along on a never-ending cascade of fistfights, gunfights, explosions and snarky banter.

However, no matter how much blood and bare flesh grace the screen, Drive Angry, especially in it’s third act, is left feeling lifeless and padded at times, mainly due to the slapdash script, never quite matcheing the success Quentin Tarantino reached with his magnificent Death Proof.

The 3D element serves its purpose by immersing the viewer in the world and seldom being distracting, but it never adds anything or reinforces the overall viewing experience to compensate the heightened ticket price.

Cage, in a role similar to the one he played in Ghost Rider, looks tired, acting throughout with a glazed expression that implies he simply isn’t enjoying himself or has any belief in the source material, which, in turn, withholds the film from reaching its true potential.

Heard and Fichtner triumph over Cage in every way; getting the best dialogue, having the most convincing physical presence, and purely playing characters that are entertaining to watch.

Drive Angry 3D is easy, somewhat fun weekend viewing. Simple as that.

Cinema Releases: February 25, 2011

Drive Angry 3D

Director: Patrick Lussier

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Amber Heard and William Fichtner

No Strings Attached

Director: Ivan Reitman

Starring: Natalie Portman, Ashton Kutcher and Greta Gerwig

The Rite

Director: Mikael Håfström

Starring: Colin O’Donoghue, Anthony Hopkins and Ciarán Hinds

Animal Kingdom

Director: David Michôd

Starring: James Frecheville, Guy Pearce and Joel Edgerton

Howl

Director: Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman

Starring: James Franco, Mary-Louise Parker and Jon Hamm

West Is West

Director: Andy DeEmmony

Starring: Aqib Khan, Om Puri and Linda Bassett

Waste Land

Director: Lucy Walker, Karen Harley and João Jardim

Starring: Vik Muniz