Nicolas Cage's reunion with Con Air director Simon West is disappointingly lacking in tension
What with Nicolas Cage's recent output conforming rigidly to the law of diminishing returns, it was with hopeful optimism that some fans regarded the name Simon West on the poster for Stolen. West's directorial debut was a little film called Con Air, one of Cage's greatest blockbuster moments - however, those hoping Stolen might mark a turnaround in Cage's fortunes will be especially disappointed by this loud and increasingly stupid action thriller.
Cage plays former thief Will Montgomery, who gets out of jail hoping to go clean and reconcile with his estranged daughter Alison (Sami Gayle). Unfortunately, he finds that Alison has been kidnapped by his former partner Vincent (Josh Lucas), who is still waiting for his share of the proceeds from a heist he and Montgomery previously carried out together. If Will doesn’t deliver, Vincent will kill his daughter.
Taking its cues from the likes of the Liam Neeson-starring Taken as well as a host of other genre films (Con Air included, with a couple of in-jokes), Stolen is one of those Cage movies that qualifies as being so bad it’s quite entertaining, if only to see just how ludicrous things can become. However, even with that in mind, the final third lets the film down badly and is scant reward for the patience ultimately required in getting there. Cage appears to be on auto-pilot for most of the time, even when indulging his wide-eyed desperate dad mode; Lucas (sporting a mechanical leg and a really dodgy hair-cut) seems to be having fun taking things wildly over the top, but Danny Huston appears mis-cast as the dogged cop on everyone’s tale, bringing a little too much gravitas to something so silly.
For his part, West keeps things moving at a brisk pace but his action scenes pale in comparison to the films he is clearly trying to emulate. Despite his increasingly desperate attempts to crank things up, the film ends up being devoid of tension. They probably should have kept the bunny in the box.