Welcome to the second half of my first review crossover event. Cage Match: Then and Now! began with inducting the 1999 film 8MM into the vault. Now we turn to Stolen, a recent Cage film that, after the briefest stint in theaters, was relegated to home video. To find the latest Nicolas Cage film, more and more often you need turn to the bargain bin instead of the marquees. The real question is, are those Nic-flicks floating in the direct-to-digital stream a real catch?
A four-man team of thieves led by Will Montgomery (Nicolas Cage) set out on their latest heist in New Orleans with FBI Agent Tim Harlend (Danny Huston) and his team watching and waiting in the shadows. Will and Vincent (Josh Lucas) snatch their $10 million score, but Vincent’s hysterics throw off their timeline and Hoyt (M. C. Gainey) and Riley (Malin Akerman) drive off with Vincent, leaving Will with the money and a slew of FBI and local cops. Eight years later, Will is released from prison to find Agent Harlend waiting. The Feds are still looking for the missing $10 million. Will’s only concern is reconnecting with his daughter Alison (Sami Gayle). Their reunion is cut short when Vincent, who’s gone insane looking for the missing loot, abducts Alison. Will has twelve hours to get Vincent the money or Alison dies, and he must do so with Harlend’s men following his every move.
Written by David Guggenheim, known for Safe House, Stolen reunites Cage with Con Air director Simon West. This time around, Cage’s accent isn’t nearly as over-the-top, nor is his hair. In fact, Cage gives a rather understated performance in lieu of his more exaggerated portrayals. Given the kind of movie it is, an overblown Cage may have spared Stolen its poor-performing theatrical fate.
I say this because what Cage’s Will lacks in fervor, Josh Lucas more than makes up for playing Vincent. From the opening scene, you can already tell Vincent has the kind of reckless attitude that ruins the well-laid plans of calculating people like Will. After eight years, that recklessness has taken its toll on Vincent. He’s faked his own death, lost some fingers and a leg, and is now slumming it as New Orleans cabbie; a greasy, sunken-eyed cabbie who looks and acts like he keeps his victims’ dead bodies in his trunk or, in this case, his would-be victim Alison.
As the desperate maniac, Lucas is formidable, but comes off a bit laughable too. Meanwhile, a tired and focused Cage hoofs it through the throngs, because as we all know, it’s always Mardi Gras when time is of the essence. Not to give much away, but the money isn’t an option for Will, so he must either hunt down Vincent or find another $10 million to boost before days end. Of course, the easier option is the latter with a little help from Riley. Though the FBI’s repetitive incompetence and Vincent’s unbridled rage can be a bit hard to swallow, it’s Will’s bold plan that thrusts all remaining logic over the levees of reality. From there, Stolen spirals into a series of events that are both exciting and preposterous.
I’m all for a little nonsensical entertainment, but Stolen chooses to straddle the fence. I’d have preferred some un-Caged madness, but other audiences may have found a serious tenor more engaging. As it stands, Stolen is watchable; enjoyable if you intend on giving it the MST3K treatment. Otherwise, you’ll feel robbed if you watch it expecting tense thrills.