Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans

Summary: In post Katrina New Orleans Terence McDonagh (Nicholas Cage) is a lieutenant detective who doesn’t live the life of a typical cop. Addicted to drugs and gambling McDonagh can’t help himself from finding his next score or waging his next bet. Even though McDonagh loves to live life on the edge he is in fact the best detective on the force. Due to this he is put in charge of solving a drug related mass murder. When McDonagh discovers the culprit he decides to befriend the drug lord, played by Xzibit, in order to continue his habit and pay off debt. This film is an update version of the 1992 Bad Lieutenant starring Harvey Keitel.

Plot (B): There's nothing better than seeing a cop break EVERY SINGLE rule in the book. Even though this is an updated version I have to say this movie was good, but a little drawn out at times. Usually, I don’t care about that however there was about seven different times when I thought the movie was over and it wasn’t. What I find to be very intriguing was the hypocrisy. McDonagh showed apathy for his own health and the rules of the law but he still maintained a moral code. He saw no problem in staking out night clubs and ripping off exiting pedestrians for drugs. He maintained a pimp/boyfriend like relationship with a hooker played by Eva Mendes. These actions among several others clearly depict the characters flaws and his desperation to get high.

Action (B-): Believe it or not there is not that much action in this movie. This story is more about the situations McDonagh gets in due to his current status.

Acting & Dialogue (A): Do you remember the time when Nicholas Cage was a very good actor and didn’t take on shitty ass roles like today? I do and they were glorious. As you watch Bad Lieutenant you are reminded of the talent Cage has but chooses not to display. I honestly don’t think this film would have been as good if Cage didn’t star in it. In the beginning of the film Cage’s character hurts his back, which is the catalyst for his future behavior. Therefore, for the entire movie Cage walks very slowly with one shoulder raised and the other lowered. I haven’t seen dedication like this from him since Leaving Las Vegas. Cage is so good that he forces viewers to question his character’s motives. Does Lt. McDonagh continue to do his job because he loves it and he’s very good at it? Or does he do it just to sustain his habit? Luckily, that question does get answered. Eva Mendes, Xzibit, and Val Kilmer are also in the film and provide a decent supporting cast. However their roles are greatly over shadowed by Cage’s performance.

Sex Appeal (6): No boobs in this film unfortunately. But there is a nice ass shot of a girl who McDonagh smoke’s crack with and then starts to semi-fuck her in front of her boyfriend. Priceless. Thankfully, there is not a nude scene of Cage slowly dancing around all fucked up, like there was in Harvey Keitel’s version. That wasn’t right!

Director (B): German born director Werner Herzog is the man responsible for resuscitating Cage’s creativity in Bad Lieutenant. Herzog has primarily created movies in his native Germany and few American films, which are lesser known. Of those American movies the one that stands out the best is Rescue Dawn starring Christian Bale, which is a true story of Vietnam POW pilot…great movie. Herzog used all the right elements when shooting this film. Setting the story in post Katrina New Orleans was an excellent idea because the broken down city foreshadows Cage’s character and his inner struggle for survival.

Overall: B


  1. I was hoping you'd review this movie.

    Sounds like Cage still has it in him...who knew?!

  2. I gotta semi-disagree (maybe that's like "semi-fucking" hahaha). Anyway, I think Cage IS really talented and fluctuates between good roles and silly ones. He was so great in Weatherman - that wasnt too long ago, right?

  3. No it came out in 2005 but kinda went under the radar for many people. I totally agree with you. Cage is an excellent actor. Its just unfortunate that he has a tendency to pick shitty roles for a paycheck and that lack substance. But I guess he's forced to because he owes a good deal of money to the IRS.