<Review by: Sailesh Ghelani>
Directed by Simon West. Starring Nicolas Cage, Josh Lucas, Malin Akerman, Danny Huston, Sami Gayle
One doesn’t expect brilliance from a Nic Cage movie anymore but love him or hate him the man tends to deliver rock solid consistency. In Stolen, you’ll find nothing really unique but it’s an enjoyable ride nevertheless.
In a time when young punks like Shia LaBeouf and Josheph Gordon-Levitt have replaced icons like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Harrison Ford, watching an old hand back in action is a treat. Even if it is Nicolas Cage. I mean, come on, watching films like Face/Off with Nic and John Travolta was the right stuff dude. You can pretty much watch that film again and again like so many timeless classics from the 80s and 90s. How many of you want to watch a film you saw last year another 10 times? Not many, I’m sure.
The film opens on a heist that has been meticulously – or so they think – staked out by the FBI who is on the trail of master criminal Will Montgomery (Nicolas Cage). Will and his motley crew pull off the robbery but their escape is foiled when Will refuses to let his minion Vincent (Josh Lucas) kill off an eyewitness, instead making Vinny shoot himself in the leg. Unfortunately, all this takes too much time, the getaway car leaves without Will who gets 8 years in prison.
Cut to 8 years later of course and he’s out, a changed man. But the FBI lead by Tim Harlend (Danny Huston) and his sidekick Fletcher (Mark Valley) have to trail him ‘cause they never did find the $10 million Will had stolen. Will sets out to find his daughter Alison who has abandonment issues (obviously) and heads off to see her shrink after basically telling her prodigal dad to F-Off. And then something is stolen from Will. His daughter. Old colleague Vincent who is supposed to be dead, reappears and takes Will’s daughter hostage. He wants his money and his life back.
There are times you flashback to other films you’ve seen like this one. Ransom with Mel Gibson for one. But you know, it’s not that a film is formula, it’s that most formula films don’t even try to be different. This one does. It gives you this very real man with exceptional skills trying to convince the cops his daughter is in trouble and then trying to save her himself. I also got a hint of the film Fugitive in this one, since Will is being hunted down by the FBI but Harlend is simultaneously realising that Vinny isn’t dead after all.
Hollywood does chase sequences and blowing up cars like no one else can and they do it hear too. But what I found amusing and interesting was when Nic Cage tries to run away from the cops he jumps on to a roof that then collapses under one of his legs. Wow, see, when they do it in all those other films they all look like they were born stuntmen. And then Cage tries to jump over wooden railings and they crumple beneath him and as his jumps he falls with a thump.
Sami Gayle as the daughter Alison is sufficiently cute and feisty. Josh Lucas plays his character over the top, which is fine. His very down and out ex-rock band member look with long hair and scraggly beard and only one leg make for a very interesting combination. By the end of the film he almost looks like the Terminator!
Stolen is set in New Orleans, another thing I like about this film. Cause it’s not the usual New York, Chicago, Boston or LA. Sure the film has its clichés and you know what’s going to happen but it still keeps your attention and builds the tension along with giving you a little chuckle and hint of nostalgia.
And you can thank director Simon West (The Expendables 2, Con Air, The General’s Daughter) for getting it right.