Monday, 8 October 2012

Film Review: Stolen (2012)

Director: Simon West
Writer: David Guggenheim
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Malin Akerman and Josh Lucas

Last year Nicolas Cage had four films released, three of which made it to my top 10 worst of the year (Trespass, Season of the Witch, and Drive Angry) and his most recent output, Stolen, is sure to find a place on the list come December of this year. It is dreadful and marks his sixth appallingly bad film in a row.

Stolen is nothing more than a made-for-TV film with an Academy Award winner headlining, giving it just enough pedigree to warrant it a cinematic release. However, the film was only released for 14 days at 141 cinemas in the US; to put that in perspective, Cage’s previous release Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance opened at 3174 cinemas. That signals an actor in serious decline and a reputation that will soon no longer be sustained by his 1995 Oscar win alone.

The story and script penned by Safe House writer David Guggenheim, is ludicrous to the point of becoming comedic. Cage plays a thief who come out of jail after 8 years only to find his daughter has been kidnapped and held in the boot of a taxi by his former partner in crime. That story is as by-the-numbers as they come, but moves into farcical territory when he has to pay $10 million to get his daughter back and the means in which he does so is beyond stupid and so implausible that it would have lost all credibility had there been any credibility left to lose.

The film is said to have had a budget of $35 million but it looks like, at very best, a flashy TV pilot and it saddens me to think that the director and star of 1997’s Con Air have been reduced to this utter rubbish. Apparently Clive Owen and Jason Statham were attached to this film yet somehow found better work and left Cage to pick up the pay cheque and drop his standards yet again. Director Simon West tries to make the film look like a Jerry Bruckheimer production but the cars flipping and crashing and fast editing only serve to make the film look silly and even more unbelievable. The only positive comes from the score by Mark Isham which belongs to a much better film than this ironically comes across as if it were another film’s score played over the top of the nonsense on screen.

Despite being one of the best actors of his generation and producing performances that no other actor could have given (examples include Leaving Las Vegas, Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call New Orleans, Adaptation), the roles Cage is choosing and the performances he is now churning out are undoing all the good work he has achieved and are turning him into box office poison and a name synonymous with B-movie fodder.

Nicolas Cage has always been a firm favourite of mine and I’ll still watch anything he makes, but it’s becoming harder to forgive him as each new below-par film gets made, gets released, and gets forgotten about.

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