Friday, December 4, 2009

Bad Lieutenant unleashes Nicolas Cage with arresting results

Posted By on Fri, Dec 4, 2009 at 7:22 PM

click to enlarge BAD LIEUTENANT: Terence McDonagh (Nicolas Cage) and Frankie (Eva Mendes)
  • BAD LIEUTENANT: Terence McDonagh (Nicolas Cage) and Frankie (Eva Mendes)

You can’t watch Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans without wondering how such a gloriously deranged cop flick came to be. I like to imagine that star Nicolas Cage took a break from waving guns, popping his eyes, and bellowing lines on the sets of his elephantine action films, held a meeting with famed filmmaker Werner Herzog and said, “You know, Werner, I think I’ve been holding back.”

It’s certainly difficult to figure out why anyone would revisit 1992’s Bad Lieutenant without the participation of director Abel Ferrara or actor Harvey Keitel. The original was never a box office smash, but has a cult following for Keitel’s raw, literally balls-out acting as a corrupt New York detective. Claiming never to have seen Ferrara’s film, Herzog crafts Port of Call New Orleans as neither a sequel nor a remake. If anything, it seems to be a darkly comic satire of Bad Lieutenant, with Cage striving to exceed Keitel’s intensity. Whatever the motivations, Cage’s Bad Lieutenant proves to be arrestingly entertaining: All trashy films should be so much fun.

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(Photo Courtesy First Look Studios)

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