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  Tokarev Cage Rage
Year: 2014
Director: Paco Cabezas
Stars: Nicolas Cage, Rachel Nichols, Max Ryan, Michael McGrady, Peter Stormare, Pasha D. Lychnikoff, Patrice Cols, Weston Cage, Max Fowler, Aubrey Peeples, Jack Falahee, Danny Glover, Ron Goleman, Michael Papajohn, Amir Zandi, Jon Dannelly
Genre: Action, ThrillerBuy from Amazon
Rating:  3 (from 1 vote)
Review: Paul Maguire (Nicolas Cage) used to be a very bad man, up to his elbows in organised crime, but realised he couldn't continue in that manner forever and transformed himself into a respectable businessman, very much adhering to the work ethic that he feels he should have stuck with from the start. He now has a sixteen-year-old daughter, Caitlin (Aubrey Peeples), who he wishes the very best for, and is determined she apply herself to her education to make the best of her prospects, also wanting the best for her romantically which is why he thinks her potential boyfriend should be working for him to shape up his own future, but one night Paul and his second wife Vanessa (Rachel Nichols) are out for a meal and tragedy strikes...

Tokarev, called Rage in some territories, was named after an all-important pistol that figures heavily in the plot, but no matter what was named, it saw Cage at his most straight to video in material and performance, no matter that it was both released in a few cinemas before making its more natural home at, er, home, and many noted the similarity between the plot of this and the Liam Neeson movie Taken. That blockbuster had seemingly ushered in a whole rash of ageing action heroes demonstrating they still had what it took to beat up the bad guys (or their stuntmen did, anyway), though when you watched this you would find it was more a gang thriller mixed with a murder mystery than vengeance melodrama.

Not that it wasn't a vengeance related plot we were dealing with, it's just that Taken was a lot more amusing than Tokarev, which was a bit of a bore as it stumbled from one setpiece to the next much in the way a work re-edited from television episodes might have done, only with a tad more swearing. There was something unmistakably small screen about it, and that extended to the big twist come the end of the movie where we discovered what was actually going on, which in other hands could have been the hilarious consequences ensuing in a farce, but here since it dwelt on a lot of murder and mistaken motives was more sober and humourless. What laughs there were turned out to be purely unintentional.

With dialogue ranging from Cage telling elderly cop Danny Glover "I'm outta the game!" and asking "How long have we known each other?!" you could tell almost immediately the screenwriters were running towards the hackneyed, though that still left Paul's two equally greying associates inquiring, "This could get dirty, so just how deep do you want this to go?" which was not an example of sexual innuendo but an invitation for them to take on the Russian mobsters who he suspects of kidnapping Caitlin. Worse than that, she actually turns up dead shortly after, leading to Cage overacting his anguish in such scenes as not only beating a gangster's head onto the concrete, but shooting his whole clip into him then booting his bonce like a football for good measure.

Items like that gave the viewer hope that the leading man would be unleashed and offer us the true mark of a nutty performance his fans knew was in him though he actually delivered far more rarely than his reputation would have it. Not consistently at any rate, and he wasn't very consistent here, too often giving us boringly sincere Cage in light of the less than hilarious plot development that his beloved daughter has been fatally shot in the head. Peter Stormare showed up in a wheelchair for some reason to point Paul and his two comrades in the direction of the mob boss he believes was out to wreak chaos on his life for his past misdemeanours, the consequences of what were some of the most by the numbers action sequences you ever did see, not a lot of imagination going into any of them in spite of the star we were dealing with. When the denouement would have us believe Paul had totally forgotten about that certain pistol he had in his possession, it was less a personal tragedy and more cause to see him as a bit of an idiot. Music by Laurent Eyquem.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark


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