Sep 17 2013
Nothing can save this movie from Nicolas Cage, however. Or his bird hair.
My requirements for a bargain bin Blu-ray review are fairly simple – it has to be something I haven’t seen yet, and it has to fall in the $5 to $7 range. Being extraordinarily busy with other commitments, and having a strong aversion to setting foot in Wal-Mart, I trusted my spouse to recover a few selections from the depths of the clearance bins. His main selling point on choosing this week’s cinematic travesty? “Nick Cage was on the cover.” Good job, husband. Let’s begin.
Our story opens with Nicolas Cage drinking an ill-placed, pretentious, two-olive martini in an empty diner (because diners totally serve those) and checking the time on his $3500 TAG Heuer Carrera watch (because Vegas magicians can afford those, obviously). And oh, wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, Mister Cage also narrates it. Cage portrays psychic magician Cris Johnson, who in addition to the most generic moniker, possesses possibly the most useless superhero talent ever and reiterates it to the audience – “I can see into the future… just not very far, and only what will directly affect me.”
IF HE CAN SEE INTO THE FUTURE WHY DOES HE KEEP CHECKING HIS WATCH???
So he can see two minutes into the future. This is even worse than the Family Guy episode where Meg’s super power was growing out her fingernails. His stage name is Frank Cadillac because, by his own admission, “I picked two things I really like and put them together. Frankenstein and Cadillacs.” Wow. I would rather watch THAT movie – a reanimated monster driving an Escalade? Sold.
Following a tense escape where it’s revealed that Vegas casino security is about as perceptive as a Stormtrooper is accurate, Cris subtly steals a Mustang and he’s gone in 120 seconds. Our “hero” high-tails is to a garage/carnival funhouse run by Columbo – I mean, Peter Falk. It’s only suiting that this was the glass-eyed detective’s NEXT to last film – a sad ending.
Why am I here? Are you my grandson? Where’s Fred Savage?
Then there’s Julianne Moore as FBI agent Callie Ferris. What casting director keeps thinking she makes a great FBI agent/badass? I really want to like her, but she always seems to be unsuccessfully trying to convince others that the unconventional person she’s placed all her misguided trust in is the real deal. Entirely unconvincing in a cheap leather jacket, she somehow has knowledge of terrorists smuggling nukes (because FORESHADOWING). Her brilliant solution to impending nuclear holocaust? FIND CRIS JOHNSON. He can tell us where the nuke will be TWO MINUTES before we would have figured it out ourselves. You can’t see it, but I’m rolling my eyes as I type.
She attempts to bribe him into assisting the FBI with promises of “fixing his legal trouble” – which is not clearly explained or developed beyond this cryptic and non-existent discussion. But wait – he’s escaped! That conversation never happened because he can see the future! Yeah…
Did I mention I’m a cop? I’m a badass, all 100 pounds of me.
Cris manages to locate his “intended” in the form of a Jessica Biel-portrayed Liz Cooper. One of the only interesting scenes was the next, in which Cris imagined different scenarios & eventually takes a hit to save Liz from stalker boy-toy Kendall (Michael Trucco of Battlestar Galactica). Using his wondrous powers, Cris snags a lift from the benevolent Liz. After a short side trip to the reservation where she teaches (because she has to also be kind in addition to being gorgeous), the duet is en route to Flagstaff but OH NO! TROUBLE! The bridge is out! *Cue dramatic, old-West prospector-like music*
“What am I doing… this guy was in Bangkok Dangerous...”
The couple settles down in a hotel for a night, with our chivalrous hero sleeping in the Jeep, but eventually worming his way into her bed the next morning in no way partly as a result of his psychic ability. While tracking down the elusive magic man, Agent Callie calmly answers a cell phone while flying at 5000 ft in a helicopter with the door open, completely immune to the deafening noise. And what Vegas-based film would be complete without a shot of a dead hooker in the terrorists’ apartment?
WTF, movie. Just WTF.
Cris reveals he was tormented by play therapy – a “marathon 38-hour session” game of guess the next card. So I guess we’re supposed to pity him for having to analyze Rorschach’s for a day and a half when he was 8 years old? Is this the “bonding” element we’re supposed to feel? Cause I’m not feeling it. Tell me he was strapped to a chair and forced to undergo experimental Adamantium injections, and that’ll stir up some empathy, but otherwise I got nothing.
This feature available soon at all theaters showing Nicolas Cage films.
Oh, wait, this’ll work. Callie gets Liz to slip Cris a pill in his morning OJ, and this is roughly the point in the film I threw my hands in the air and gave up. The FBI, to my knowledge, does not drug people to capture them. Then why am I so sleepy all of s udddf gmbggm gggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggggg
Cris is subjected to a modified version of A Clockwork Orange and forced to watch network news to find clues about the nuke. He eventually cooperates, locates the French-speaking Russian/Serbian terrorists (because consistency and accuracy are vital), and, dodging bullets Matrix-style, leads the elite team to a shipyard where Liz is being held captive. You know what a warehouse and cargo ship is good for? Railing kills! Especially awesome when a sniper gets entangled in a bunch of chains after being shot, and dangles precariously off the side for dramatic effect.
Once again, our national security rests in the hands of this man. God save us all.
Then Nick Cage splits himself into a BUNCH of Nick Cages to explore the facility and seek out all available options, saving many agents and the girl just in the NICK of time. Which is actually a better title for this movie, but whatever. Then the bomb goes off because Cris’ ability is stupid and everyone dies, the end.
I’m totally going to spoil this and save all of you the five dollars – none of it happened. It’s an effing dream in the end, just a possibility of what might happen, an elaborate projection of potential scenarios in which the post-coital Cage envisions the outcome of saving the girl vs. saving the world and picks the wrong one. Then he wakes up back in bed with Liz. Even my 10-year-old son threw his hands up and said “Really?!”
What a horrible drea- OH GOD I SLEPT WITH NICK CAGE.
Here’s what kills me: this was taken from a story written by none other than Philip K. Dick. That’s right – Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report Philip M.F.K. Dick. So again, I wanted to like it. But then Nick Cage happened (he also produced this horrible, horrible waste of film stock).
Final score: Can I give negative ratings? Screw it – Negative three stars. This movie made me almost as angry and disappointed as The Mist, which I still haven’t recovered from.
And then the credits rolled backwards, scrolling down instead of up. This entire film can take a flying leap off the nearest cliff. I’m totally done.
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