Originally, I was going to write about National Treasure for this post, but something better came up. I was sent a screener link to Nicolas Cage's newest film, Arsenal. At first, it didn't seem to be worth my time, and I figured I'd wait until Netflix to check it out. But then I came across some astounding information: Nicolas Cage was reprising his crazed character from Deadfall for the film. This led to two things. One: I had to buy Deadfall, re-watch it, and write about it. Two: I had to watch Arsenal and post a review when the embargo is lifted in a few days. So right off the bat, I own this Cage "classic" just so I could write about it.
This isn't the first Cage film I bought just for his insane performance. I bought The Wicker Man years ago, and I proudly own Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, among others. Nicolas Cage is one of my favorite actors, especially when a director lets him do whatever he wants. Deadfall is written and directed by Cage's brother, Christopher Coppola, so you know he gave Cage complete freedom.
Aside from Cage's hilarious performance (which is the only reason to watch this insipid wannabe noir con movie, Deadfall stands out for being a movie completely made by doing favors for the Coppola family. The cast includes James Coburn, Talia Shire, Charlie Sheen, and Peter Fonda. There is simply no reason why these actors would take part in this film aside from helping out a family member and/or friend. It's probable that the star, Michael Biehn, took the job sincerely, but his performance reeks of someone going through the motions along with the others...except for Cage.
This is why Cage is such a fun actor to watch. Most people would come to this nepotism project with the least possible effort, but Cage truly turned up for his brother. He's not one to sit back and coast through a film when he's given the chance to do something unique, and my God, is he unique in this film.
Cage is such a standout because the story is so boring. I'm not a fan of good con movies, much less crap like this, so Deadfall's plot, about a young con man (Biehn) looking for answers from his con man uncle (Coburn) after accidentally killing his con man father (also Coburn), is extremely difficult to stay interested in. It doesn't help that Biehn is challenging Harrison Ford (from the theatrical cut of Blade Runner) for most disinterested narration of all time.
So the first few minutes of Deadfall are quite a slog. But then, Cage appears. His wardrobe makes little sense throughout (my favorite is the tuxedo, cummerbund and all). He wears sunglasses to hide his hilariously bloodshot eyes (I couldn't help but be reminded of Slurms McKenzie from Futurama when Cage slowly takes of the shades). His wig is bad, even by Cage standards (but in a great twist, it's shown to be a wig in the film). And his line delivery ranges from stoned mumble to outright nonsensical jabbering. In other words, perfect Cage.
Had Cage's character, named Eddie, by the way, been the main character, Deadfall would be one of the funniest, craziest bad movies of all time. Unfortunately, and inexplicably, his character (SPOILERS) is killed off little more than halfway through. The Cage-less portion is hard to watch, even with a strange cameo from Charlie Sheen, and the appearance of Angus Scrimm, who is playing what appears to be a crappy James Bond villain (his name is Dr. Lyme and, for reasons never explained, he has a pneumatic lobster claw for a right arm).
This is why Arsenal interests me. Someone is attempting to fix the mistake of this film, and bring Eddie back from the dead. I can't wait for the explanation for his character still being alive in this new film (and I kind of hope there isn't one). My main hope is that Eddie hasn't calmed down in his old age.
|Which version of Cage would you rather watch? Also, the Cage|
in the first cover does not appear in the film.
Of course, I plan on keeping this crazy, weird film. I'll even keep the stupid cardboard cover the studio added to make the movie look more normal. Why would you want to play down the craziness of Cage in this film? It's the only part worth watching. Here's hoping Arsenal even crazier.