VOD film review: Stolen
James R | On 07, Aug 2013
Director: Simon West
Cast: Nic Cage, Josh Lucas, Danny Huston Malin Akerman
Watch Stolen online in the UK: Apple TV (iTunes) / Prime Video (Buy/Rent) / TalkTalk TV / Google Play
“Save a purple crayon for daddy.” “As you’re speaking Swedish, something must be up.” Any film featuring such immortal lines of dialogue is destined to be silly, so the sight of Nicolas Cage in the credits for Stolen is a promising sign of bonkers action to come. Sadly, no one seems to have told him. The thriller sees our hero driving burning cars, fighting one-legged men and even carrying cuddly toy bunnies – but Nic Cage does it all with a completely straight face. On the plus side, he drives burning cars and fights one-legged men. It’s hard not to enjoy any film that features both.
Cage plays Will Montgomery, a pro thief who gets caught just after completing a £10m job. Released eight years later, he finds former partner Vincent (Lucas) hungry for his share of the dough. In keeping with Bad Guy 101, Vincent kidnaps Will’s daughter, Alison (Gayle), and gives him 12 hours to find the money and rescue his little girl.
A daddy returning home to rescue his daughter? It sounds a lot like Taken but Stolen is closer in tone to another modern favourite: Con Air. Director Simon West, reunited with his leading man for the first time in 17 years, keeps the daft-o-meter turned firmly up to 11, giving Cage’s race against time an enjoyably ridiculous air.
The script does its best to throw up cliched obstacles, introducing a detective (Huston) obsessed with finding his nemesis (does the FBI employ any other kind?). But the cast are clearly enjoying themselves: Danny Huston wears a hat like he’s about to perform cabaret, Malin Akerman relishes the chance to play bad-ass fellow felon Riley, while a psychotic Josh Lucas chomps his own foot off just so he can get at the scenery.
The only one who doesn’t ham it up is Cage. It’s almost impressive how much sincerity he brings to his nervous and bumbling father amid such blatant stupidity, but a little bit of crazy Cage would go a long way to redeeming the B-movie script. Thank goodness, then, that one of the Con Air duo is still flying at full speed – helped along by a 70s-cool score by Mark Isham, Stolen clocks in at a brilliantly tight 96 minutes. In an age where action films are getting increasingly bloated, to only have an hour and a half nicked away from you is a relief. The result is a fast paced thriller that stays just on the silly side of serious to be fun. Nic Cage may keep his bunny firmly in the box, but make no mistake: the box is on fire. And covered in purple crayon.
It’s fitting for a slim film with little going on upstairs that the disc should follow suit: Stolen’s DVD boasts barely any special features at all. What is included is a basic double-bill of EPK montages, including some brief vox pops from the cast and crew.
“He’s not only lost his mind… he’s lost his DREAMS,” says Josh Lucas, taking his bad guy extremely seriously. “I create one of the most memorable villains to be on screen in a little while,” he adds.
The serious tone extends to the behind-the-scenes footage, which sees Simon West standing by a camera with the words “THIS IS POETRY” scrawled on a wall behind him. Nic Cage delivers the only line worth sifting through the sombre soundbites for: “I work well with fire,” he says. And how.