Stolen Blu-ray Review

Stolen1

I could be cruel and say that the title of latest Nicolas Cage actioner Stolen refers to the ninety six minutes which the film takes from your life.

But I’m not cruel, so I won’t say that.

What I will say is this: what in the name of H.I. McDunnough is Nic Cage playing at?

Cage has had a pretty mixed filmography over the years, alternating between playing tortured good guys (The Wicker Man, Knowing), action men (Face Off, The Rock) and wacky outlaws (Next, Gone in Sixty Seconds), with a few high points along the way (Leaving Las Vegas, Lord of War).

As such, it’s pretty hard to gauge what to expect from his next film. Which sadly happens to be this below-par action offering from director Simon West.

Stolen sees a bit of a mash-up of Cage’s roles to date, casting him in the role of a tortured-but-wacky good-guy outlaw action-man.

The plot is about as disposable as a paper hankie, concerning the age old tale of an ex-con (Cage) trying to go straight, but being dragged back into pulling One Last Job when a member of his family is threatened by a buddy-turned-baddy (played by Josh Lucas)

You would have expected the reunion of Cage and West to have added more meat on the bones of such a wafer-thin story, their last collaboration being cult favourite Con Air.

However, Stolen sadly misses the humour, action and scale of their early film.

It’s hard to work out where it all went wrong really.

The set-up is promising: funky and evocative seventies heist-movie music plays over an opening montage of zipping credits and moody CCTV footage. Cage and his crew are neatly established (including Con Air alumnus M.C. Gainey), witty dialogue included as standard. And an ensuing car chase is particularly well choreographed.

Stolen

Then we shift to the rest of the film. The action sequences are pretty low-key, and whenever there is even the hint of a plot twist, it is promptly squashed, leaving zero surprises in an already by-the-numbers movie.

The New Orleans backdrop is colourful but clichéd: are any New Orleans-based films not set during Mardi Gras?

The cast is also a let-down. Cage does his whole run-around-looking-worried thing (though to be fair, delivers what is expected). But Lucas particularly disappoints, creating a villain that lacks any sort of menace and instead seems an uneasy hybrid of Long John Silver and a watered-down Peter Stormare.

Danny Huston seems to alter between friend and foe in his interpretation of the police lieutenant who is eager to bust Cage again, but is equally eager to free himself from pursuit, and ends up being a bit of a non-character.

And Malin Akerman, as the love interest slash sidekick, brightens things up but isn’t given nearly enough to do.

If anything, the best performance comes from as Sami Gayle (as Cage’s daughter), but she is hampered by spending the majority of the film in a car boot.

In short, if you’re looking for an entertaining film about a guy searching for his kidnapped daughter, it might be worth seeking Liam Neeson out instead.

Conor Brennan

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