Rating: 2 stars out of 5
Haven't we heard this story before? A guy goes on a city-wide rampage after his daughter is kidnapped. That film was Liam Neeson's relentless ‘Taken’, and director Simon West and screenwriter David Guggenheim have decided to pretty much use the same premise for a film but with... Nicholas Cage and substituting New Orleans for Paris.
Well it shows that the copy can't match up to the original. Cage's glazed, where-am-I stare just doesn't quite match Neeson's intensity. The ironically named ‘Stolen’ is a blah fest, with incompetent FBI agents, lubricious situations and some pretty lousy bank security tacked on with Mardi Gras as a backdrop.
Cage plays Will Montgomery, who sounds like the type of person who should be on a dollar bill. With the mercurial Vincent (Josh Lucas), Riley (Malin Ackerman) and Hoyt (MC Gainey), they rob a bank of $10 million. Too bad that the FBI is on their tail, and after a betrayal and Will's, Will is nabbed and locked in prison for 8 years.
When he's released, with pretty much the same hairline, he returns to New Orleans. He tries to repair the rift between himself with his teenage daughter Alison (Sami Gayle), only to have her kidnapped by the drug addicted and crazy Vincent. He puts her in a cab and Will has to find a way to cough up $10 million to repay his former very disgruntled team member. Will teams up with Riley to carry out yet another heist, that just comes across as improbable. The FBI, led by Tim (Danny Huston), believes that Will is up to no good, and is also chasing him down.
The set pieces are noisy but not particularly exciting. Will, besides being a great safecracker, is also capable of knocking out two FBI agents single-handedly. Security at FBI headquarters also seems fairly lax, and the criminals run rings around all the agents looking for them.
Nicholas Cage has proven to be more of a box-office poison than boon, and his presence can't elevate a mediocre film above the run of the mill. The acting abilities he showed in Leaving Las Vegas have pretty much left him, and the blank stares and confused looks that he gives make you wonder if he remembers which movie he's in.
The supporting cast does a far better job than Cage. Lucas does manage to do a decent job as the villain of the film, though you can't help but feel sorry for the disabled cab driver now harbouring a grudge. Ackerman is just eye-candy, while Gayle does a good enough job looking scared.
It's all tied up neatly, and who needs a shrink when the best route for family mediation is to get kidnapped by a nasty killer?
‘Stolen’ doesn't score high in terms of excitement or action, relying on the usual cliches and so-so action sequences. Neeson had style and seethed with rage in ‘Taken’, while Cage just has a scowl and bad hair.