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As Seen on Netflix – RAGE (Starring Cage)

Posted on March 04, 2019

Rage (2014)

Rage (2014)

Nicolas Rage

Nicolas Cage is one of those actors whose filmographies you can look at and wonder where it all went wrong as you go down the list of movies he’s made. At one point, he was one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, but these days he has been effectively reduced to starring in low-budget direct-to-video movies. What happened?! Did he do one too many action/thrillers in the 90s to the point that he was seen only as a goofy character actor who is good at going crazy while in-character? Was the change part of the result of our current decade, one which has seen the rise of Netflix and competing streaming services in which many low-budget flicks (which contain many 90s action stars in the lead roles) can now be made and go straight to streaming? Or was the 2006 remake of The Wicker Man that sealed his fate as a once-huge actor who now does mostly B-movies?

As Seen On Netflix – RAGE (starring Cage)

Maybe it was a mix of all three

As Seen On Netflix – RAGE (starring Cage)

European Castles

Getty Images: Alamy

I should point out that Mr. Cage’s financial problems in no way helped things for him. If you don’t know about it, then Cage pretty much blew his entire $150 million fortune on completely useless things. Just to name a few, he bought shrunken heads, a dinosaur skull (which turned out to be stolen from Mongolia and he had to give it back to them), a haunted house, the late Shah of Iran’s Lamborghini, and who needs one European castle when you could have two?

One was purchased for $10 million. The other? $2.3 million. At least he made sure to look for a sale on the second one.

As Seen On Netflix – RAGE (starring Cage)

Rage Poster

Rage (2014)

Cage either had no financial advisor, an incompetent financial advisor, or a completely smart financial advisor that he just didn’t listen to. Either way, he almost went broke and ran into trouble with the IRS because of him basically running out of money and not paying taxes. With his financial decisions and subsequent financial misfortunes, it’s easy to see why he might be more than willing to star in whatever pays.

Any way you look at it, Mr. Cage has had a rollercoaster of a career, filled with box-office hits and other films that have gone straight-to-video and probably wouldn’t have earned much had they been shown in theaters regardless. For now, though, we’ll start with a movie whose title suits him perfectly due to the simple fact that it rhymes with his last name. “Rage.”

“Nicolas Cage Rage” is another acceptable title.

As Seen On Netflix – RAGE (starring Cage)

Danny Glover

Rage (2014)

Released in 2014, Rage is an action thriller directed by Spanish director Paco Cabezas. Nicolas Cage is the star of the film, and most of the supporting cast are people who I didn’t recognize, with three exceptions. Most surprising to see in this movie was none other than Danny Glover! As per usual, he plays an older figure of authority who’s seen a lot in his time and who is there to warn Cage’s character to not get too deep into what’s going on. His role is fairly cut-and-dry, and while I can see some people questioning whether or not Danny Glover is in as dire financial straits as Cage, he does the role as well as a man who’s been getting “too old for this sh*t” for the last 30 years can.

The second actor I recognized was Peter Stormare. He’s been in many films in the last 20 years, and he’s almost always playing characters from Europe or Russia. Fargo, Armageddon, The Big Lebowski, Bad Boys II, the Frogger episode of Seinfeld. Even if his name doesn’t ring a bell, you’re bound to recognize him from something, simply because he’s been in so many movies. The third actor I recognized is Pasha D. Lychnikoff, who seems to be famous for playing Russians in movies whenever a Russian role is needed. I remember him as the guy yelling something in Russian for a few seconds in Cloverfield, and also as the only likable and memorable character in “A Good Day to Die Hard,” where he played a taxi driver. I should mention that I think his scene in the movie was also the only part of that film I even liked, so I was happy to see him in a much larger role playing, what else, a Russian. This time, he’s the boss of a local bratva that goes to war with Nicolas Cage’s crew of middle-aged former criminals.

As Seen On Netflix – RAGE (starring Cage)

The film starts off with Cage picking up his daughter, who is apparently supposed to be a high school student despite the fact that she is clearly a college-aged young adult. The actress would have been about 20 when this movie was made, so let’s just pretend that the character is the same age and was simply held back several years and is graduating high school the same year that she can legally purchase alcohol. Cage himself has a black suit on and is driving a black sedan, and when I watched this movie with my father, he thought Cage was a chauffeur. Turns out he’s actually in the construction business, and he harbors a few dark secrets about his past (spoiler alert: he’s a former mobster).

After a few scenes to establish the characters, Cage leaves for dinner with his wife and they leave their daughter at home with two other classmates from high school (who are presumably there visiting and trying to befriend her because they’re hoping she’ll buy beer for their party next weekend). But Danny Glover shows up to the restaurant and informs Cage that something terrible has happened. His daughter has been kidnapped! And as we learn from the clichéd dialogue between Cage and Glover, Cage is a former criminal who has to constantly be reminded that he shouldn’t get involved in dirty business now that he’s “out of the game.” But is this gonna be a movie where Nicolas Cage and his wife sit at home depressed while their daughter is missing? Of course not! The Rage of Cage is upon us by this point.

He meets up with his old buddies and asks them to go around knocking on doors and cracking some skulls to see if they can find anything out about who took Cage’s daughter. What’s interesting is how their idea of “finding information” seems to involve beating the ever-loving crap out of every criminal and drug addict in the city. In one scene, two of Cage’s pals bust into an abandoned apartment building and nearly kill a woman over this. Exactly what knowledge would these two have of anything to do with Cage’s daughter disappearing? The characters state multiple times that they have no idea who might be responsible for the kidnapping. They basically came to the conclusion that if they harass enough people around town, they’ll eventually find someone who knows something about the kidnapping.

Before you start to think that this is yet another ripoff of Taken, the movie throws a curveball in the shape of Cage’s daughter being found dead in a river. Somehow, a buddy of his learns about the ballistics examinations done on his daughter, determining that the gun used in her murder was a Russian gun. They never describe how they found this out, and humorously, it comes directly after a scene in which Danny Glover learns of this from another detective, who he then tells to keep a lid on it. It just seems weird how we go from a scene in which we find that the police seem serious about keeping this secret, to a criminal now being able to easily access this information. And this is never addressed again in the film.

Because it’s a Russian gun, they naturally decide to go after every Russian criminal that they can find. Which there seems to be a lot of in Mobile, Alabama. People get beaten up, chased, shot at. Little wonder why they still can’t figure out a reason why Cage’s daughter was kidnapped and murdered: he and his crew seem to live by “Shoot first, ask questions later,” and most of their leads just end up being killed by them.

As Seen On Netflix – RAGE (starring Cage)

“Hey, should we be killing these guys? They might know something about your daughter’s disappearance.”

As Seen On Netflix – RAGE (starring Cage)

There’s one fairly cool action sequence where they raid a drug house and Cage ends up on the floor taking out two guys coming from two different rooms. But there’s one particular golden moment which takes place after a chase scene that I can’t help but laugh every time I watch. The “WHO DID IT” scene. This is where we get a full-on classic Cage freakout.

As Seen On Netflix – RAGE (starring Cage)

Clearly, the best way to revive a dying man is by screaming unintelligibly at him while smashing his head into the ground.

As Seen On Netflix – RAGE (starring Cage)

He has another memorable freakout later on when he confronts a member of his crew that he believes to be a traitor. Once again, he’s in full-on shouting mode, ranting about his betrayal and repeating the same word over and over again. The magic word this time is “RAT!”

As Seen On Netflix – RAGE (starring Cage)

Probably one of the most passionate rants I’ve witnessed on film.

As Seen On Netflix – RAGE (starring Cage)

To make a long story short, this is where the film’s events all come to a head. Cage thinks his pal is double-crossing them for the Russians, the Russians torture and kill Cage’s other friend that he actually liked, his old boss gets shot to death, and then we get the twist: the Russians didn’t have anything to do with his daughter’s murder. In fact, no criminals did. Turns out, it was one of the high school buddies of his daughter who got drunk, found a gun in Cage’s bedroom (which happened to belong to a Russian criminal that Cage murdered 20 years prior) and accidentally shot the daughter. He freaked out, got rid of the gun, and staged a break-in to cover it up, knowing that Cage is a former notorious madman mobster.

But Cage’s character is apparently a forgetful former madman mobster! Evidently, it never occurred to him that he once murdered a guy and took his very unique Russian-made gun and kept it stashed in his closet. And later on, when he learned that this was the same type of gun that was used to shoot his daughter, he still didn’t think to look in his closet to see if the gun was there. This only occurs to him after the fact, and the film comes to a fairly depressing ending. All of the violence and deaths that took place over the course of the film’s runtime was basically for nothing, and Cage dies in a hail of gunfire from a Russian hit squad. The lesson of the day being to always remember where your guns are if you have any.

Rage, as strange of a movie as it is and as rushed of a production as it feels like, still had an interesting concept behind it. If the film just had better writing and pacing during some scenes, it could have probably been seen as a much better movie. I won’t complain about Cage’s acting. While many find him to have cheesy or hilarious moments, I think that him losing his sh*t in a scene is part of the novelty of a Nic Cage movie. And honestly, if it wasn’t for Cage being in this, I might not have even considered watching it. The movie is no action masterpiece by any means, but it isn’t a completely unenjoyable watch, either. If you’ve got literally nothing else to do and nothing good to watch, “Rage” is honestly better than nothing.

I rate this film three rat emojis out of six.

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