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Cage Match Round 6 – Rage

Cage Match is an ongoing look at Nicolas Cage’s output from the last decade or so. I’m watching, reviewing and ranking all those movies that barely played in theatres or went straight to DVD. What are these movies all about? Which one is the best? There can be only one true Cage movie of note. Join me and let’s find out together!

Our sixth contender in the Cage is Rage, a 1hr 32min, 2014 action thriller.

Estimated Budget: $15,000,000 , Gross Worldwide: $2,424,381

Rage Movie Poster

Rage Review

What’s Cage up to this time?

Cage is Paul Maguire, a former criminal who has gone clean and is married with a daughter. Except oh shit! The daughter has been kidnapped and Paul has to go back to his old, naughty, criminal ways in order to figure out who is responsible.

Who else is in the cage?

There’s actually a few recognizable faces in this one!

You have Danny Glover as the cop who is sort of after Paul but mostly seems to be his buddy. He also gets away with a whole lot without much questioning. He and his fellow officers catch Cage in the midst of some crime shit and Glover says to let him go and they seem confused but they do it. It seems like a blatant conflict of interest but what do I know?

There’s also Rachel Nichols as Paul’s wife, Vanessa. I’ve liked Nichols in other movies so it was disappointing that she doesn’t get a whole lot to do here except stand around and cry/look sad. I did appreciate that she isn’t shocked by her husband’s actions, and in fact gives him the go ahead to do whatever he needs to do to get some answers. I prefer a “if you need to stab some motherfuckers, you have my blessing” sentiment in my cinematic marriages.

Also good ole Peter Stormare shows up for a couple of scenes to make you go “oh shit! Peter Stormare. That’s cool.”

The director is Paco Cabezas, who has gone on to do a ton of television and followed this with Mr. Right, a movie a strangely large amount of people have been insisting for years that I watch.

Is the movie worthy of Cage?

Fair warning that in this section I am going to spoil a key event that happens at the end of the first act! This is your chance to turn around and still go into your viewing of Rage with a clean knowledge slate!

Rage really seems like it’s going to be Taken but with Cage, an equation I was already on board with. I was ready for the “I have a set of skills” speech except its Cage so he would deliver it while actively on fire or in an Australian accent or whatever insane acting choice he made in the movie. Things start out that way after the daughter is kidnapped and he recruits his buddies/former partner in crimes to start rattling cages to figure out who may have done this.

First surprise is that the movie is not very interested in making sure you like this main trio. One of the very first things Paul’s friends do is get a guy to talk by tying a rope around his girlfriend’s neck, the other end to a cinder block and then tossing the block out a god damn window. That’s some hardcore shit and the movie doesn’t justify it by saying “oh it’s fine, the girlfriend sold drugs to kids or something so these guys are actually heroes.” Nope, they’re just assholes.

Speaking of hardcore shit, here comes the spoiler so last warning. Rage moves further away from the Taken comparison when about a half hour in, the daughter is found dead with a bullet in her head. After the initial stage of grief, denial, he moves into the next stage – yelling and stabbing motherfuckers. Considering Paul’s sketchy background, there are a lot of people who might wish ill of him, which means there are a lot of people to stab and yell at. Paul’s frustration only grows as everyone he confronts denies any involvement and seem completely baffled that this dude they haven’t seen in decades is stabbing them and yelling at them.

I see a lot of chatter online about how the story in this one is unoriginal and predictable and I don’t know what it says about me that I often wasn’t sure what was going to happen next. There were a few times I thought I had a good sense of what was to come, only to be quickly proven wrong. I’ve seen a lot of movies damn it and I was still caught off guard here, particularly with the ending. I’ll concede it’s not the most original story, but I thought it was executed pretty well. The pacing could use some tightening as the middle stretch gets a little repetitive, but I was invested! I wanted to know what was going to happen!

How Cage-y is Cage?

This is going to sound like a backhanded compliment but this is far more of a performance than I was expecting from Cage here. He seems to believe in the material and he is doing well. He has a couple of screaming moments but it’s never too over the top and makes sense with the character who is barely containing his…well his rage. The hair continues to be unfortunate though. Somebody really should have talked to him about that. It’s got a real “vampire trying to hide he’s a vampire” thing going.

You bought the blu-ray?! Are there bonus features at least?!

There’s a few of them on there yep. Ok well…I wrote that sentence before I watched them and all three featurettes only add up to just over five minutes. A lot of that is standard plot overview stuff but we also hit on what are starting to emerge as the standard traits of Nic Cage movie bonus features:

  • Mentioning how this is a movie with a lot of heart
  • Praise for the director
  • The director saying how crazy it is that Cage is in their movie (I wonder if that starts to diminish overtime as they realize maybe it’s not that rare)

There’s also about 15 minutes of deleted scenes. It’s not hard to see why they were cut as the movie doesn’t suffer from losing moments like an exterior shot of a house or Nic Cage saying hello to his friends.

Should you get into this cage?

I actually think you should, if only so you can get back to me and let me know that I’m not crazy. If you spot this one on a streaming service, fire it up and take a chance.

Where does it rank?

Welcome to the top of the pile Rage! This one was a pleasant surprise and my spirits remain high on this endeavor thanks to moments like this.

As it stands:

Vengeance: A Love Story
Left Behind

Published inMovie Reviews

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