Director Simon West and Nicolas Cage re-team for the first time since ‘Con Air’ for ‘Stolen,’ a fast-paced action thriller set during Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Will Montgomery (Nicolas Cage) is a master thief who after being double-crossed in a heist gone awry is sent to prison for 8 years. Upon his release he’s ready to leave his criminal past behind and try to rebuild a relationship with his estranged daughter Allison. The FBI and his old cohorts believe that he hid the loot from the last heist 8 years ago, $10 Million in Bonds. To get his hands on it, his old partner Vincent kidnaps Allison and demands the entire $10 Million as ransom.
Film informationGenre: Action, Thriller
I have to admit I love Nic Cage. The guy has always been one of my favorite actors, and he always will be. That said, he is starting to really concern me with some of his script choices of late. Stolen is little more than a ripoff of Liam Neeson’s Taken, whether it intends to be or not. There are some minor differences, but the general idea is the same. The problem with this is that Nic Cage does not fit the lead role.
Nic Cage is a whole lot of things, but he is not paternal. Trying to imagine him anguished over a kidnapped daughter is just not easy to do. He seems too similar all the time to pull off the range of emotions that this might require. Have you ever noticed how Nic Cage looks the same regardless of the emotion he is expressing? Perhaps it is just me, but he simply does not come off as a daddy to me in this film.
Liam Neeson had a steely determination that made Taken a hit. He was very easy to imagine as a father that was only concerned with his daughter’s safe return. Cage always feels like he is more about the action and the pace. That is also what makes him so effective as the unassuming slacker or the dispassionate lover in his other action films. This film simply does not fit his wheelhouse.
Whatever the case, the story is a familiar one. Cage stars as Will Montgomery. Montgomery is a master thief that has two partners in crime. Malin Akerman plays his lady friend, while Josh Lucas plays the typical partner. They do a job that is worth ten million dollars and get caught, sending Cage to prison for eight years. This is the bridge that leads to the rest of the film and the drama to follow. Unfortunately, they spend little time explaining the particulars and you are left to guess at much.
When Cage is released from prison, both the cop that pursued him and Josh Lucas both are convinced that he still has the ten million. Cage only wants to go straight and get to know his teenaged daughter. To prove he means business, Lucas kidnaps Cage’s daughter played by Sami Gayle. At this point, Cage has no choice but to call on a reformed Akerman, and the cop that wanted to have him put away to help.
This leads to the inevitable “one last job” that virtually every movie of this type requires. The details of this job and how it all connects to the plot are ridiculous to say the least, and it is amazing that the director expects us to swallow it.
There are many unanswered questions in this film, but it just keeps on going right through most of them. The clichés fly wild and crazy as well. As much as I wanted to like this film, I simply could not. Not a sliver of it felt original and none of it felt real. When you watch a crime drama like this, it has to feel real to hold your interest.
The actors in this movie are good enough, but the script just does not give them enough to work with. When you use a tired idea and then add in some basic but unimportant changes, you still have a tired idea.
Cage has made a whole series of bad choices of late with his script choices and he would do well to go back to paying closer attention. When Nic Cage has the right script, he is among the best actors in Hollywood. When he has the wrong choices, it can get rather ugly.
Stolen is ugly.