Nicolas Cage has made so many bad movies it’s hard to remember he was good enough to win an Oscar for the devastating Leaving Las Vegas. I don’t know if it’s a lack of taste and intelligence or he simply doesn’t care, but his career has been downhill ever since. Rage is another formulaic re-tread that needs its brakes re-lined.
Written by: Jim Agnew and Sean Keller
The star sleepwalks through this one as a former mobster turned strict father and community leader with a sexy wife and a 16-year-old daughter on her way to Princeton. When she’s kidnapped, he goes berserk, enlists the two most vicious thugs from his criminal past to find her, and the violence begins. The girl is found dead and Rage turns into a full-throttle Nic Cage flick—which means while he’s bashing a man’s head in, he’s the one who screams, not the victim. Hell hath no fury like a father having a hissy fit. The case links to a crime committed 20 years earlier involving the Russian Mafia, so now he sets out on a killing spree, wiping out whole buildings of Russians single-handedly.
The movie sustains itself for the first hour on car chases and mayhem with clumsy direction by Paco Cabezas that substitutes flashbacks and choppy editing for logic and explanation, and a shoulder-shrugging script by James Agnew and Sean Keller that makes no sense. Cage even blows up police cars and nobody cuffs him. The body count rises, yet the detective in charge of the case (Danny Glover, in an advanced state of narcolepsy) lets him go in front of all the other cops, saying only, “Watch your back.” One of the most ridiculous last-minute plot twists in action-flick history is implausible enough to make Rage a shabby waste of time from beginning to end. Performances whittled from oak logs don’t help, although comically leering Pasha D. Lychnikoff pops in and easily steals the show as a Russian villain named Chekhov.
Don’t bother to pay money to see this dismal dreck. Just visit Netflix. It’ll be there before you can turn on the TV.