Combustible Celluloid
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With: Nicolas Cage, Rachel Nichols, Max Ryan, Michael McGrady, Peter Stormare, Pasha D. Lychnikoff, Patrice Cols, Weston Cage, Max Fowler, Aubrey Peeples, Jack Falahee, Danny Glover, Ron Goleman, Michael Papajohn
Written by: Jim Agnew, Sean Keller
Directed by: Paco Cabezas
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 98
Date: 07/11/2014

Rage (2014)

1 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Ragin' Cage

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Rage is certainly a low point in Nicolas Cage's otherwise interesting career. The actor is one of our best at coming unhinged onscreen, but director Paco Cabezas somehow keeps things somewhat muted. It feels like the dynamic, volatile actor is on auto-pilot, and the rest of the movie doesn't do much to back him up.

After the death of his first wife, former criminal Paul Maguire (Cage) has gone straight in an effort to raise his daughter Caitlin correctly. Now a teen, his daughter is starting to ask to spend time with her friends and Paul reluctantly agrees. While he and his second wife (Rachel Nichols) are out one night they receive the news that Caitlin has been kidnapped. Paul immediately begins considering his old enemies in the Russian mafia, trying to decide which one might have done such a thing. When the stakes are raised, he goes back to his old gang and dispatches them into the underworld, ordering them to do anything to find out what really happened. But Paul just might go too far, and still miss looking in the right place.

The terrific Nichols, as well as Danny Glover, feel as if they're just trying to get through any given scene. Characters rarely seem like living, breathing organisms, and they sometimes don't even appear to be reacting to one another, as if they weren't even in the room together. Even when the characters weep, it seems on cue. The plot is both confusing and ridiculous. It throws in so many characters and character names that it's difficult to keep track of who is doing what and why. Then the final reveal boils down to something so dumb that it's difficult to believe that these so-called professionals didn't figure it out sooner.

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