2 StarsNicholas Cage has played nearly every type of role onscreen. From cop to convict, addict to dealer, this performer has tackled them all. Now, in the simply titled, Rage, Cage is Paul Maguire, a retired gangster with a renewed blood lust. For a movie with such an aggressive name and a star with a predilection for over-the-top theatrics, the flick is not nearly as violent or action-packed as suggested. Instead we have a revenge-thriller with familiar plot elements, and an on-the-noise denouncement that violence begets violence. The saving grace of the picture is the patently off-kilter line readings from Cage and a late in the game surprise ending that is earned.
Paul Maguire is a legitimate businessman in the New Orleans area, his construction and architecture firms have contracts with the city and investments in the local economy. All is well for the tycoon, his daughter is excelling at school and he is off the radar of the authorities. Then one night while out at a dinner function Maguire’s daughter is kidnapped and slain, setting off the inner killer that laid dormant for years.
The trail that leads to the killer takes Paul and his two cohorts through the Irish and Russian mafia, and exposes an uneasy alliance between the two warring factions. There is much bloodletting and torture but the impact is dulled by a subdued pace and a detached view of the action. The movie doesn’t takes hold until the final plot twist and by then it’s too late.
Director Paco Cabezas seems to be channeling A History of Violence with the cinematic stylings of underrated helmer Wayne Kramer. Rage, works in the moment but any attempt at profoundness come off as silly and inappropriate in a movie that is influenced by Steven Seagal flicks and Cronenberg in equal measures. This is another case of a former OSCAR winner toiling away in direct-to-DVD fodder, someone green-light Con Air 2.
Director: Paco Cabezas
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Rachel Nichols, Max Ryan, Michael McGrady