Director: Simon West

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Josh Lucas, Danny Huston, Marin Akerman, Sami Gayle, Mark Valley

Written by: David Guggenheim

Running time: 96 mins

Cert: 12A

Release date: 20th March 2013

There are some films that fall into the category of “So Bad They’re Good” and Stolen, which sees the reteaming of director Simon West with his lead from Con Air, Nicolas Cage, in a film that is blatantly a rehash of Taken. And yet all that doesn’t seem to matter because any way you look at it, Stolen is rubbish, yet it’s fun, laughable rubbish.

Mast criminal Will Montgomery is taking on a huge bank robbery with his partners-in-crime, Vincent and Riley Jeffers. In the middle of this crime, and taking $10 million, Vincent wants to kill a janitor who has seen them running from the scene, while Montgomery, not wanting blood on his hands, stops his friend and shoots him in the leg. Escaping the police, Montgomery, with the money, decides to burn it so he will get less time in jail. Eight years later and Montgomery is released from prison and wanting to go straight, to reconcile with his daughter who is now a teenager. She wants nothing to do with him and instantly steps into a cab, being driven by his former partner, Vincent. He wants the money that was stolen in 12 hours otherwise the kid is dead. Montgomery goes to the FBI who want him to lead them to the lost cash but they don’t believe him. So it’s up to the the former crook to raise the money himself, by doing another job.

This screams out wanting to be a 60s style crime thriller. Even the credit sequence, with Mark Isham’s annoying theme music playing in the background, has a 60s feel. Strange, really, when it’s as far removed from those stylish days. This is nothing more than an average crime thriller about a man pushed too far that he is willing to break the law again, even when he has just got out from prison. And as you watch the film get sillier and siller you do ask that one important question: What did happen to Nicolas Cage’s career?

Remember Leaving Las Vegas? Oscar winning performance? Where have those days gone? Or Birdy? Wild At Heart and all those strange, off-beat independent films he made? He was sometimes annoying yet his films were always challenging and different. Now he seems to be just churning out mindless, disposable nonsense in which he plays slightly quirky characters who grunt and groan but are as tough as nails. I do blame Con Air for his road to mundane (although I love Con Air). Most of his recent work have been well below par and this one only survives due to the utter silliness of the story and what goes on.

Danny Huston, another actor who made some pretty decent films in the past, looks somewhat ridiculous wearing a hat not dissimilar to the one Gene Hackman wore in The French Connection, playing an FBI agent determined to get Cage’s character no matter what, yet seems to be the dumbest agent in the world, until a flash of genius and massively contrived plot twist suddenly turns him into super cop. Josh Lucas, who did have a small moment of fame at the turn of the century, gets to play second fiddle as the bizarrely unstable, one-legged Vincent, wanting the money he earned. With his rocker’s hairstyle, he just doesn’t cut it as a baddie.

The film works best when West directs the action sequences. Having come straight off The Expendables 2, West knows how to direct a car chase and there is a reasonable one here and he allows Cage a little room to play with but the script is so crazy that even the best director in the world could do anything sane with it.

If you are looking for something to just relax to and not have to think about, it does the job. It entertains and he has plenty of good, unintentional laughs. By the time the finale pops up, you will have hit your hand in  your face several times for being so dumb but I can see it growing a bit of a following where they will be quoting it because, trust me, it has some cracking lines in it. Nonsense, absolutely but it has the good sense to know it.



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