On paper, the idea to do a remake of Abel Ferrara's 1992 NC-17 box-office failure Bad Lieutenant, casting Nicholas Cage to star, tapping Werner Herzog to direct and setting it in post-Katrina New Orleans sounds like a recipe for disaster. If only such were actually the casethis film is really not a remake. Save for the title and a protagonist who's a drug-crazed dirty cop with a gambling addiction, Herzog's Bad Lieutenant bears little resemblance to the original. In fact, the director claims to have never even seen it, and foughtto no availto change the title during production. The whole affair has inspired the ire of Abel Ferrara, who said simply of Port of Call's filmmakers, I wish these people die in Hell...I hope they're all in the same streetcar, and it blows up. The miraculous thing here is that, against all odds, the film actually works. Cage's maniacal performance is an absolute gas to watch, and Herzog is clearly enjoying playfully plumbing the depths of his derision with a movie that hardly takes itself seriously. What better way to spend Christmas day than by watching Nick Cage one-up his woman-punching performance in the 2006 re-make of The Wickerman by holding elderly women at gunpoint while hallucinating iguanas?
Fri., Dec. 25, 2009