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Stolen (2012)

March 10, 2013



written by: David Guggenheim

produced by: Jesse Kennedy, Matthew Joynes and Rene Besson

directed by: Simon West

rating: R (for some violence and brief language) 

runtime: 96 min.

U.S. release date: September 14, 2012


I can give credit when it’s due. The overall quality might not be there, but  Nicolas Cage churns out the flicks like one crazy dude. Since 2010, Cage has starred in nine movies, and according to his IMDB page, he’s got six others in pre/post production and development. There’s been some duds in the group, but there’s some decent ones too. Take 2012’s “Stolen”, nothing flashy but entertaining throughout.

An accomplished bank robber and thief, Will Montgomery (Cage) has created quite a reputation for himself to the point a New Orleans FBI officer, Tim Harlend (Danny Huston), has become obsessed with catching him. In the aftermath of a successful job, Montgomery is caught but refuses to give up where he hid the $10 million he made away with, also refusing to turn on the rest of his crew. He serves an eight-year sentence, and upon his release tries to reconnect with his daughter, Alison (Sami Gayle), but she is kidnapped by a member of his crew, Vincent (Josh Lucas), who has fallen on hard times and wants his share of the cut. Montgomery maintains he doesn’t have the money, but now it’s a matter of life and death. Can he find Alison in time before Vincent kills her? If not, can he pull off a job — with the police and the FBI tailing him — to steal enough to appease an insane Vincent? The clock is ticking.




Does the basic plot sound familiar? A man forced to rescue his kidnapped daughter from some rather nasty people? Yeah, it sure sounds like Taken to me too. It isn’t spot-on of course with more than enough differences to make it interesting. The weird thing is how little a release it was given. IMDB reports it had a budget of around $35 million, but when it was released in September 2012, it was shown in only 141 theaters (major releases typically are shown on thousands of screens) and banked just $180,000. What happened? Were reviews that bad? Did studios have that little faith in it? I can’t really find a reason. It’s nothing crazy good – by any means, but I liked it enough to give it a mild recommendation.

With the cast and crew assembled here, there’s definitely potential for a solid action thriller, and to a point, I think ‘Stolen’ is very entertaining with some third act flaws. Director Simon West has shown he can do a solid action flick with films like “The Mechanic“, “The Expendables 2“, “Con Air” (also with Cage), “Tomb Raiders”, and this one is certainly in that vein. It barely breaks the 90-minute mark, clocking in at 95 minutes, and from the word ‘Go’ it never slows down. It’s enjoyable because this breakneck speed never stops. Cage robs a vault, goes to jail, is freed and then spends an hour-plus racing around New Orleans looking for his daughter. There are plot holes, but the pacing is so ridiculously fast that the problems are never around long enough to really be an issue. Beyond that, this movie isn’t meant to rewrite the action thriller. Just sit back and enjoy it.




I don’t know the exact year or the movie where Nicolas Cage went wrong, but at some point he went from an actor able to play drama, action, even dark comedy effortlessly, to an actor who seems unable to do anything more than a caricature of himself. He has a scene with Lucas early on that goes down that over the top, goofy road, but thankfully it’s just one scene. As an action hero, Cage handles himself quite well here. He’s a good bad guy (He’s a father! He can’t be completely bad!) just trying to save his daughter. The over-the-top moments are kept to a minimum thankfully, although there has to be at least six different scenes where Cage is running for all he’s worth. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it’s because he’s such a ridiculously slow runner, but couple it with his 110 percent effort at running so slowly, it’s quite a visual. I got sidetracked, sorry. Moral of the story, but Cage is pretty good here.

I liked the rest of the cast too. Besides the goofy New Orleans jazz daddio hat he keeps wearing, Huston is pretty good as the FBI investigator trying to catch Montgomery while balancing out an odd admiration he has for the master thief.  Mark Valley (“The Human Target”) plays Fletcher, Harlend’s assistant. Lucas gets to ham it up as Vincent, the thief seeking revenge. Maybe that’s where Cage’s caricature went, go figure. Montgomery’s team includes Malin Ackerman as Riley, the getaway driver, and M.C. Gainey as Hoyt, the electronics specialist.

Things do fall apart some in the final showdown between Montgomery and Vincent at an abandoned amusement park. “Stolen” almost goes down a pretty dark road with its ending before tapping the brakes. Mostly though, it reminds me a lot of so many 1970s action crime thrillers that were packed to the gills with almost non-stop action. Credit to Mark Isham’s jazzy, fast-paced score for keeping that action going. Good but not great, just a solid popcorn flick. Sit back and watch Cage race through New Orleans.




RATING: **1/2




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