When it comes to his films, nothing can really catch up with Nicholas Cage. He’s chased national secrets, cars – lots of them, lots of times – even a plane full of cons and always comes off a winner. In ‘Stolen,’ Cage does what he is expected to do, but age finally does seem to catch up with him.
Cage (Will), a bank robber at the peak of his power, pulls off one of the biggest jobs of his life, stealing $10 million, even as the Federal Bureau of Investigation agents stalk him outside a New Orleans neighbourhood.
But a screw-up with his partner Josh Lucas (Vincent) during a getaway results in the latter getting shot in his foot and Cage having to burn the cash. Then the master bank thief gets nabbed – just about the worst thing that can happen to a heist specialist.
A few years later, Cage is out of prison, but the FBI is still on his trail looking for the money, unaware and unconvinced that it has been burnt. The ambling plot finally gets thicker when Cage’s daughter, the feisty teenager Sami Gayle (Alison), gets kidnapped.
And the kidnapper, it turns out, is his former partner foot-shot Vincent, who wants his share of the $10 million, again unaware that the money has been smoked into the ether.
The cash burnt, Cage is forced to dig into his bank-robber knapsack for one last time, to come up with the money or risk his daughter’s death.
There are three reasons why this Cage thriller might not grab you.
Casting someone who comes off as jaded as Cage – and making it work – should have been a walk in the park for director Simon West. He did wonders to bring alive at least nine creaky action stars, including the almost robotic Chuck Norris, in his last film ‘Expendables 2.’
Josh Lucas, a sweet-faced actor with a warm smile in most of his films, is unconvincing as a unbathed, long-haired and diseased psychopath. There is simply no menace in him, which may bode well for Lucas, but not for Vincent, the rogue he’s playing.
Lastly, some might consider the plot to be stale, with a plethora of overused devices such as placing a daughter under threat.
But here’s why the film is a treat to watch. Most portions of the plot unfold with the colourful Mardi Gras parade festivities as a backdrop. The processions, the masks, the lazy carnival revelry in exotic New Orleans make the film a visual stunner.
Two out of the many car chases, a staple in Cage’s films, are nerve-wracking.
‘Stolen’ is quite similar to ‘Gone in 60 seconds’, a classy 90s car heist film involving Cage and a somewhat similar plot. It’s just not as good.