Combustible Celluloid
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With: Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Val Kilmer, Fairuza Balk, Jennifer Coolidge, Brad Dourif, Michael Shannon, Shawn Hatosy, Denzel Whitaker, Shea Whigham, Xzibit, Tom Bower, Irma P. Hall, Vondie Curtis-Hall, Katie Chonacas, Brandi Coleman, Lance E. Nichols, Brandy Moon, Marco St. John, Jillian Batherson, Deneen Tyler, Lauren Pennington, J.D. Evermore, Tony Bentley, Kyle Russell Clements, Sam Medina
Written by: William M. Finkelstein
Directed by: Werner Herzog
MPAA Rating: R for drug use and language throughout, some violence and sexuality
Running Time: 122
Date: 03/09/2009

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans (2009)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Debauch Job

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans will have appeal for fans who know the work of German-born maverick director Werner Herzog, and indeed, the new film shares much in common with some of Herzog's crazed past masterworks like Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972) and Fitzcarraldo (1982). The drawback is that fans of the equally crazed maverick filmmaker Abel Ferrara will compare it to the 1992 film Bad Lieutenant and find the new one lacking (though the two films really have very little in common).

New Orleans cop Terence McDonagh (Nicolas Cage) grudgingly rescues a soon-to-be-drowned prisoner during Hurricane Katrina. The act promotes him to lieutenant, but also injures his back. Enduring constant pain, he becomes addicted to painkillers and other drugs and begins behaving very badly (though he was no prize before, either). While on the trail of a murderer, he bribes and threatens people, visits his prostitute girlfriend Frankie (Eva Mendes), steals drugs from the evidence room, upsets some gangsters, loses a bet with a local bookie, blackmails a football player, and forms an alliance with a local thug, all while trying to deal with his alcoholic father and stepmother. Will Terence learn a lesson here, or is he too far gone?

Enjoyment of the new film will rest on the viewers' willingness to succumb to intense, loony, personal filmmaking as well as extreme subject matter with lots of drugs, swearing and violence (and some sex). If that's the case, viewers may find themselves laughing, simultaneously with jaws dropped to the floor, at the movie's sheer audacity and envelope-pushing.

Blu-Ray Details: The must-have Blu-Ray from First Look sadly does not come with a Herzog commentary track (he's one of the best in the business), but it does have a very good behind-the-scenes featurette with Herzog in action (as well as Val Kilmer doing his best Herzog impersonation). It also comes with photos and trailers.

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