A New Nicholas Cage?
I’ve seen a good number of Nicholas Cage’s films in my day, most left me wondering exactly who in their right mind would cough up 10 cents to produce those stinkers. There were exceptions, of course; “Con Air” comes to mind, as does “Gone in 60 Seconds” but most were just crap. So when “Lord of War” started getting hyped all over creation, I was curious, but not curiuos enough to waste time at the theater. I rented it the other day and was, well, pleasantly surprized. I can think of few other actors who could play the leading role as well as Cage did. Maybe Johnny Depp and Sidney Greenstreet being a ouple of that handful of exceptions. This leads to the title question are we witnessing a new Nicholas Cage? A Cage with more refined acting skills, or, like France, is there worse yet to come?
The story is simple: Nicholas Cage is an Americanized Ukrainian that goes out of his families restaurant business and into imports and exports…of arms and munitions. No, Cage doesn’t stop at your mere AK-47/RPG/M-60. No Russian tanks, helicopters and pretty much anything else you can use to slaughter your neighbor and eat his kids can be found at his traveling emporium. Ethan Hawk is the federal agent whose sole mission in life is to run all over the planet trying to nail Cage for arms running. Throw in a coke snorting brother, a couple of Ukrainian parents for comic relief, a wife and a kid, the entire third world (including Russia), a few well known dictators, regional conflicts, and enough conventional weapons to slow even me down and you’re staring “Lord of War” dead in the eye.
Ratings and Rantings
Nicholas Cage has definitely perfected his dry, somewhat sardonic sense of humor for this role and considering the tone and flow of the movie, it jives more than the Bee Gees. However, whether this is good or bad, there is an underlying message to this film. It’s fairly obvious in several of the speeches Ethen Hawk gives and many of the events which take place throughout the film. Personally, I think the movie could have stood alone without getting preachy, but nonetheless, it does make for a good story and a relatively good message.
The first half of the film is basically Cage’s early days getting started funding massacres and meeting/marrying his wife. For the most part this part of the movie is lighthearted, and semi-Thompsonesque. But the second half of the film shifts gears and starts down the preachy road of being poignant. This is a road I usually dislike this road and where it leads, but for this film I’m willing not to dock it too many points mainly because it makes it without sacrificing the entire film. The only other real downer of the film is the part which show Cage at home with his family. These aren’t particularly bad scenes, however they’re the equivalent of driving at around 140MPH then suddenly and abruptly slamming on the breaks and applying the parking break. They tend to be very slow and sort of screw up the overall rhythm of the film.
Anyhow, the movie is well worth the time in front of the tube, so I’m going to give it a 4 1/2 out of a possible 6, 1 1/2 points docked for the reasons mentioned.