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“How deep do you want this to go?
-“How deep is hell?”
The laughable lines are delivered partway through Rage. One would hope that the conversation was a self-aware, winking nod towards the audience. But as Rage continuous down the path of film hell, it becomes unfortunately clear that this film is a stinker. Rage takes itself too seriously, and succeeds only in being exceedingly bad.
Nicolas Cage stars as devoted family man Paul Maguire. He’s loving, yet stern father and a caring husband. When her daughter asks for permission to have friends over- he thinks little of it other than to make sure she’s finished her work first and that these guy friends are ‘suitable’ acquaintances. He heads out for a dinner with his wife and friends, and comes home to a wrecked home and kidnapped daughter. Detective Peter St. John delivers the bad news, and is surprise-surprise played by none other than Danny Glover. As a good detective, he has no choice but to ask Paul if this has anything to do with his questionable past involving the Irish mob. Paul denies it outright, he’s a legit businessman now. The nerve of some people, amiright?
In line with the actions of any legitimate businessman, Paul enlists the help of his fellow ex-mobsters to find his daughter inciting the dialogue that started this review. A little torture and law-breaking leads nowhere for Paul and his goons. When his daughter turns up dead in a ditch, Paul blindly sets off on a rage-filled quest for revenge.
Rage, previously known as Tokarev, is definitely one of the worst films you will see this summer. Easily. By a mile. Directed by relative newcomer Paco Cabezas pathetically fails at being a film, both visually and narrative-wise. Rage’s narrative is ill-conceived and poorly executed. It plays out like a child’s interpretation of mobster films. The script is as dim-witted as they get. The dialogue is cringe-worthy. Twist after twist are revealed to plunge the film into further stupidity. Meanwhile, anyone with eyeballs will instantly realize there’s something off with Rage. Sets look odd, there’s a lot of grain, images are not exposed properly. The editing at times is zany and unaided by nonsensical camera angles. Chase sequences are shot competently but are hindered by odd framerates. Nothing is ever right in Rage. The movie looks amateur at times, lazy, cheap and just plain bad. Rage comes off like a small indie created by inexperienced newbies – which makes it all the more disheartening when a large car chase with explosions makes you realize that can not be the case. Rage had an estimated $25 million budget that is practically imperceptible on film. They could have rolled up that money and smoked it, and it would not have made much of a difference. Even more disheartening is the knowledge that Andrzej Sekula, cinematographer of well known films such as Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, and American Psycho, created such an awful film.
Not willing to be outdone, the acting is spectacularly dismal as well. Nic Cage delivers the type of performance that has made him an infamously bad actor amongst younger generations and a series of memes. His line readings are hammy and over the top. And while Cage presents the easiest target, he still manages to give a better performance than most of the other actors. Peter Stomare, one of the few recognizable faces, gives an utterly incomprehensible performance. The rest of the cast is filled with nobodies who struggle to make their roles believable and their acting noteworthy. Line after line gets a flat delivery with faces as wooden as that of Pinocchio. Danny Glover is the only actor to surface with some dignity from this ill begotten project as the most ineffective, and useless detective. But you know, he manages to just be phone it in okay, which is better than anything else you will get from Rage.
Rage commits so many movie sins, it’s beyond salvageable. Perhaps though, it will steer into that magical zone of ‘so bad, it’s good.’ At times, Rage finds itself there after an especially idiotic line or plot development. Over the course of 98 minutes it certainly elicited some giggles, chuckles, and flat out cackles. But those were few and far between, as myself and few others in a nearly empty auditorium saw our time and money trickle away down the cinematic sewers.