After his daughter is murdered, an ex-criminal gets his old crew together to find the people that killed her.
I really, really, really wanted to start this review by saying Nic Cage’s Rage is full of Cage rage, but I can’t… mostly because this movie is incredibly boring for the first hour and then it finally starts to pick up. Since we’ve started our ongoing Nic Cage Series, I’ve seen quite a few shades of Cage; he has his great films where he clearly cares (“Leaving Las Vegas”), he has his ridiculous films where he still cares (“Face/Off”), he has his middling films where he gives middling, but sometimes funny performances (“Army of One”), he has his terrible films where he oftentimes looks as if he could care less about what’s happening (“Season of the Witch”), but this film is something else… in many scenes it looks as if Cage is horribly bitter about being in this movie at all. There are scenes when I honestly wondered if Cage was a bit intoxicated as he stood there, bleary-eyed and mumbling, sometimes giving a far worse performance than many of the actors whose names I’d never heard of. Other than two or three scenes, Cage looked completely miserable in front of the camera, and for good reason: this movie is pretty darn awful.
“This could get dirty, so just how deep do you want this to go?” “How deep is hell?”
Paul Maguire (Nicolas Cage, “Adaptation.”) is an ex-criminal whose daughter Caitlin (Aubrey Peeples, “Sharknado”) is murdered. Thinking that her murder might’ve been a hit put on by an old criminal contact as a repercussion for his past sins, Paul assembles his old crew and decides he will find who killed his daughter and extract his vengeance. Meanwhile, Detective Peter St. John (Danny Glover, “Sorry to Bother You”) also searches for the culprits of the murder. Peter Stormare (“Chocolat”) plays an old mob boss contact named Francis O’Connell.
This movie is a very paint by numbers revenge flick for the first hour and ten minutes, but it’s biggest problem is that it lacks any sort of tension, and the characters, particularly Paul’s friends, aren’t in the least bit likeable. In order for me to root for our main character to get vengeance, I first have to care about said character, and really, I didn’t at all. Paul is an ex-gangster, and his friends are all thugs and lowlifes. One of the first scenes where his friends attempt to interrogate someone whom, in the end, doesn’t even have information, shows his friends torturing an innocent but strung out junkie-girl in front of her boyfriend by wrapping a rope around her neck, attaching the rope to a cinderblock, and tossing the cinderblock out a window. Then, as they’re leaving the scene, they make jokes about their cruelty… Aren’t we supposed to like these people? To make matters worse, much of the dialogue sounded like first-draft material, full of clichés and lines that probably would feel right at home in a hard-boiled detective novel, but coming from an actor who couldn’t care less about selling the delivery, those same lines feel particularly tawdry.
As I already mentioned, a lot of this film was just plain boring, but of the nigh-hour-and-forty-minute runtime, probably twenty minutes of this film was devoted to hysterical and horribly shot action sequences. One of the first action scenes we get is a carjacking scene inside a parking garage, and it’s done so poorly that it reminded me of a student film. The action doesn’t get much better from there. Sometimes the action does wade into hysterical territory, and it’s there that this movie finds one of its few redeeming qualities. For example, there’s one scene where Nic Cage is chasing a man who has been shot in the gut. The man eventually collapses, and Cage walks over to him and begins to interrogate him by slamming his head into the ground. After Cage slams the man’s head repeatedly into the ground, the man becomes woozy (wonder why) and begins to pass out. Cage starts screaming “Don’t die,” while continuing to slam his head into the ground. Then, when the man has apparently died, Cage stands and unloads his gun into the man, and kicks his head before walking away. The scene is so funny I actually rewound it to watch it again; it’s also one of the only scenes where Cage doesn’t seem to hate everything about the movie he’s in.
The ending of this movie comes with a twist, and while the twist is a touch obvious from the beginning of the film, I actually thought the way that the twist was handled was done with far more prowess than the rest of this movie. This movie is in no way good, but the message the final ten minutes tried to push helped to bump my rating from a 1.5/5 star rating to a 2/5 star rating.
I would not recommend this film. Even if you’re a Cage fan, and you’re used to watching horribly inept Cage films, you can probably give this one a pass. While there are one or two redeeming moments, for the most part, this movie is just plain boring.
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