Like any successful distribution label should, Millennium Entertainment has accrued an instantly recognizable strain of action film with which their brand is linked, so when their logo pops up the trailer for their latest release “Stolen” — and Jason Statham, Cuba Gooding Jr., or Clive Owen is nowhere in sight — naturally there's only Nicolas Cage left to deliver the goods.
Written by David Guggenheim (“Safe House”), and directed by Simon West (marking a reunion with Cage after “Con Air”), the film at least had the makings of a decent thriller in its veins. However, from the opening moments of the trailer — featuring a former thief Cage emerging from prison (looking painfully serious) only to find his estranged daughter kidnapped by his old partner (Josh Lucas) — it looks like the under-lit, throw-away actioner that tax-credit friendly New Orleans filmmaking tends to exhibit on its worst days. In the villain role, wearing a ridiculous wig and rotten teeth, Lucas clashes hard with Malin Akerman and Danny Huston in standard girlfriend and cop roles, and seems to be trying to cover Cage's usual tics of madness in the actor's place. As Cage's daughter, Sami Gayle (who put a fantastic performance in with Tony Kaye's “Detachment”) looks to be the emotional center and a worthy addition, but even her presence can't raise the film to anywhere near full-ticket-price level.
It's a bit surprising “Stolen” is even hitting theatres, when VOD returns for action films like Mel Gibson's “Get The Gringo” have pulled in favorable numbers for everyone, but if the thought of catching perhaps the one scene where Cage does a wacky line reading or gesture entertains, “Stolen” opens on September 14th.