Rental Corner: Driving “Angry” with the “Fighter”
Biopics have come and gone with poor attempts like Mel Gibson’s “The Three Stooges” and some that at least manage to remain respectful like “Man on the Moon.” David O. Russell’s “The Fighter” comes very much between this as a straight-up “Million Dollar Baby”-ish film, but at times can have the same level of camp as a Rocky sequel. The story centers around “Irish” Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) who struggles to be a professional boxer as he deals with the living style of Lowell and the problems with his family. There is not much to say about his character seeing how he goes from the basic everyday man and works his way up to the ultimate achiever. This story has been done before with elements like the mother being the manager and not knowing what is right for him with a girlfriend tossed in that acts like the voice of reason but leaves little impact.
The one thing that does make “Fighter” the more worthy is the subplot of Micky’s half-brother that is trying to make a comeback while doing drugs behind his family’s back. At first we tend to feel against him for the poor choice he takes of wasting a life he worked for, until the second half when he makes a realization after releasing the mistake he made once he unknowingly participates in a documentary on how drug addiction ruined his life. This is where I ask, why not make the movie about that? Was it the risk of having another pro-drug film like “Ray” or “Walk the Line”? The strange thing is how it acts like the center of the film, which it oddly does at times when the main focus is on the brothers in general.
Another problem is some of the dialogue and dramatic arguments seemed to be delivered like a rejected sketch from “Jersey Shore.” It’s all cuss, complain, and gets irritating at times. And if you are looking for some big boxing moments, there is not much. All we get is two big fights and a montage of knock-outs. While “The Fighter” doesn’t pack much punch, it’s still entertaining none the less. Not highly recommend, but at least worth a look.
“Drive Angry,” on the other hand, left me mad. What kind of creature would create this? A mean-spirited and gory road film about a man who is on the lam and trying to save his daughter from a Satanic cult’s choice of sacrifice. The concept on paper sounds ok, but inside its center is full of gore and sex that just dims it down. Nicolas Cage as the protagonist comes off as bland with his monotone, “Drifter” attitude while his feisty co-star tries to be the next Cherry Darling from Planet Terror.
To sum things up, it packs the seven deadly sins in an ugly, trailer trash talking, blood oozing, lustful, unappetizing feature that only exists to please the fans of exploitation films, which obviously shows. Movies like “Machete” and “Kill Bill” can have their violence and come out being fun, but there is no joy to “Drive Angry.” Its soul rests itself on trying to outdo “Grand Theft Auto” games as opposed to just being entertaining.