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November 23, 2014

Movie Review: Rage (2014)

Directed by Paco Cabezas

Movie Review by Greg Goodsell

“This whole mess stinks,” weary Irish Mafia hit man Danny (Michael McGrady) sighs at one point. You're telling me. It was with deep dread that this DVD was submitted to ye humble reviewer, Nicolas Cage's distorted mug prominently featured on the cover. Sure, Cage previously turned in some good performances in halfway decent movies before such as Raising Arizona and Vampire's Kiss, but those days are long past. Cage last starred in the Christian rapture film Left Behind (2014), itself a remake of a 14-year-old film in the role Kirk Cameron played in! Let that sink in for a moment.

Yes, Cage's acting career has long gone down the porcelain convenience by this point, but just before he signed on to Left Behind he found time to star in the violent actioner Rage, released sans rating by the MPAA. Cage stars as Paul Maguire, a successful businessman with a highly shady past in the Irish mob. Fixing to host his lovely daughter Caitlin's Sweet Sixteen party at his former colleagues' dive bar (Max Ryan and McGrady), these plans are put on ice when after she's abducted in a break-in burglary and kidnapping at home with two male friends. After she turns up dead with a gunshot wound to the head, Cage vows vengeance on those responsible. Rallying his buddies, Cage begins the methodical thinning out of the local Russian Mafia. His friend the police commissioner (Danny Glover from the Lethal Weapon series – not looking so good these days) advises him to let justice take its course. There are some good car chase scenes and a shock, surprise ending – due to some shoddy detective work on the part of the police in this film! If anything, Cage's character was justified in taking the law into his own hands.

Nobody goes into a Nicolas Cage movie these days expecting a good film. Bad dialogue, plot holes galore and wince-inducing acting conspire Rage to the cut-out bins. Cage is especially wooden; his acting range here consists of him jutting his lower lip when he's trying to be serious and opening his eyes wide whenever something significant happens. Glover is stuck with a role that Morgan Freeman is usually handed, the compassionate, black lawman who's seen it all and in the words of Rodney King wants everyone to get along. Rachel Nichols plays Cage's long-suffering wife and cries a lot.

The DVD has a very brief “Making of Rage” documentary. There are also deleted scenes, and an alternate beginning and ending scenes that are far superior to what made it into the finished film … go figure. Rage functions as some good, mindless Saturday night entertainment, but there's little here to I over. Your move! 

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