Starring: Nicolas Cage, Josh Lucas, Danny Huston, Malin Akerman, Sami Gayle
Running Time: 96 minutes
Cage was West’s leading man in the ever-quotable CON AIR sixteen years ago, and now they have reunited for STOLEN. It’s a confused film, that suffers primarily from a lack of conviction when establishing what it aspires to be. Is it a straight, slick and fast-paced action-thriller, or is it a self-reflexive, humorous, postmodern take on movies of that ilk? Several signs bewilderingly point to both throughout this hulking, testosterone-gushing offering.
The undecidedness is a large problem because it makes it impossible to care for the already-supremely-trite characters, as it is bafflingly unclear whether we are meant to sympathise with them or laugh at them. Laughing seems to be more appropriate, but it’s more of a bemused, slightly frustrated chuckle, instead of deriving from actual enjoyment. Also, it dictates that the film be left suspended in no mans land when it comes to assigning a desirable tone, which would be absolutely fine if it could stand alone on the strength of its own merit, but it’s a generic script with a predictable plot lifted from a thousand others like it. Furthermore, the characters are either forgettably bland, or so ridiculously over-the-top, you do feel like you’re watching a shoddy comic book adaptation (Lucas’ antagonist is a shining example).
Cage plays it straight throughout, and is neither memorable nor awful in the role of Will Montgomery, but Gayle, who plays his daughter Alison, frustrates spectacularly. Just when you start to allow STOLEN to suspend your disbelief, Gayle pops up in a scene where she is supposed to be screaming for her life, but instead adopts a consistently low level of urgency that boggles the mind.
There are a few dynamic action sequences and set-pieces which mildly amuse, and even a couple of sardonic one liners that force a titter or two, but STOLEN is mainly an hour and a half of disappointing action movie tropes and cliches being ticked off, one after the other.