I blame the IRS for this. Academy Award winner Nicolas Cage, Rachel Nichols, Peter Stormare and Danny Glover star in Rage.

Rage 2Cast of Characters:
Paul Maguire – Nicolas Cage
Vanessa Maguire – Rachel Nichols
Kane – Max Ryan
Danny Doherty – Michael McGrady
Frank O’Connell – Peter Stormare
Chernov – Pasha D. Lychnikoff
Anton – Patrice Cols
Young Paul Maguire – Weston Cage
Mike – Max Fowler
Caitlin Maguire – Aubrey Peeples
Evan – Jack Falahee
Det. Peter St. John – Danny Glover

Director – Paco Cabezas
Screenplay – James Agnew & Sean Keller
Producer – Richard Rionda Del Castro & Michael Mendelsohn
Not Rated

After living a life of crime with his buddies Kane (Max Ryan) and Danny Doherty (Michael McGrady), Paul Maguire (Nicolas Cage) leaves it behind so he can go legit. Years go by and Paul now runs a respectable construction company in Alabama, living with his wife Vanessa (Rachel Nichols) and daughter, Caitlin (Aubrey Peeples).

If you’ve seen A History of Violence, you know where this is going.

Crimes from Paul’s past come back to bite him one night when he and Vanessa attend a charity event, leaving Caitlin at home with her friends Evan (Jack Falahee) and Mike (Max Fowler). At the event, Det. Peter St. John (Danny Glover) informs Paul that some Russians he has wronged in the past have taken his daughter.

If you’ve seen Taken, you know where this is going.

At this point, I’ll take a National Treasure 3 if it means Disney signing out a paycheck to Nicolas Cage big enough to allow him to be a bit more selective with his roles.

It’s widely known about Nicolas Cage and his financial issues with IRS, which is why he’s currently in “I’ll accept a role written by a toddler in crayon” mode. I spoke too soon with my praise of Joe, ’cause Cage is back to slumming it up for all of us moviegoers.

Rage is just another one of those films Cage partakes in so that he can keep his electricity and water running. Between the clunky dialogue and choppy editing, this is some sloppy filmmaking. Think of it as Taken made by some high school film students. Granted, I didn’t really like Taken all that much either, but it’s The Godfather compared to this. Ironically, for a movie titled Rage, this film is depressingly dull. So dull Nicolas Cage stands out not ’cause his performance is good or anything, but ’cause everything around him is such a lifeless bore. So dull I actually welcomed Peter Stormare’s hammy performance as Cage’s wheelchair-bound former mob boss. So dull I would’ve given anything for someone to actually break into my home ’cause at least then my pulse would’ve risen above pronounced dead.

There’s not much to say here. From the Nicolas Cage’s “I’m out of the game for good!” father, his worrying wife (Rachel Nichols, who looks young enough to be Cage’s daughter), the Joe Schmoe crime buddies of Cage, the hokey Russian mob boss villain (who looks tiny enough to be a horse jockey), to Danny Glover’s “Let us do our job, and stay out of it.” detective (the Pink Panther could handle an investigation better than him), this film reeks of cliche. That could be forgiven if it made any attempt whatsoever to be entertaining, but it takes itself so seriously, and director Paco Cabezas and writers James Agnew and Sean Keller clearly show they don’t have the skill set to handle such material as seriously as they do. By the time the horrendous twist arrived (for some reason I won’t reveal it, as if I want you to find out for yourself), I didn’t care ’cause Cabezas, Agnew and Keller made no effort to get me to care from the beginning.

I could go on and bring up the puzzling choice by Cabezas to downplay the Irish and Russian mob war that seems to be such an integral aspect of the story, but by now, why bother?

I should also give special mention to the poor man’s Dark Knight trilogy soundtrack, which sounded like it was desperately seeking your attention so bad, it came off like a kid surrounded by a group of men, jumping frantically, waving their arms wildly at you and shouting, “Hey! Hey! Over here! I’m over here!” I’m thinking they couldn’t get Hans Zimmer, but were able to get Zimmer’s second cousin’s daughter’s best friend’s brother’s wife who owns some Pro Tools knockoff and a Casio keyboard.

If there’s any plus I was able to take away from this film, it’s where Cage treats to us to a rare moment within this film by letting the unhinged animal out of him, interrogating a dead Russian by pounding his head against concrete, and then whipping his gun out and pumping him full of bullet holes, all while still expecting to get some answers from him.

If this entire film was just that scene played on a loop, I just may have been compelled to give it an A+.

Rage lacks the bizarre, manic energy of a Nicolas Cage film like The Wicker Man that’s so bad it’s funny, and is just a bland, by the numbers, 90 minute long Valium pill. Once again, Cage goes through the motions like he can’t wait to be done with this, collect his paycheck and go home. Hey, at least Cage has a great shot at both best and worst of 2014 since he gave us Joe earlier this year. Then again, in reference to that film, Rachel Nichols said it best here.

“You’re such a tease.”

I give Rage a D- (½★).


7/28/14        What the Hell Were They Thinking?!
7/29/14        Benjamin’s Stash
7/31/14        And So It Goes
7/31/14        Wish I Was Here
8/1/14          Get on Up
8/1/14          Guardians of the Galaxy

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