2014 / Director. Pablo Cabezas.
Review by Glenn Cochrane.
Nicholas Cage movies are like a box of chocolates... you never know what you're gonna get. With his personal finances in ruins Cage has come to a point where every project is a pay check. Once a guaranteed bankable name, he is now pushing his way through the indie scene and his studio films are now few and far between. Sometimes he makes a good film and more often than not he makes bad ones. TOKAREV is one that I kept skirting around. It came right after two very solid films (THE FROZEN GROUND and JOE) and before two of his most poorly received ones (LEFT BEHIND and OUTCAST). Wedged right in the middle, it could have gone either way. Fortunately I was relieved to discover that it is actually an effective and taut action thriller. Cage plays a former mobster who lives a clean life. When his daughter is kidnapped and murdered he steps back into his old shoes and sets out on a course of revenge. With two former henchmen at his side he beats, bashes and kills any bad guy who stands between him and those responsible. It is your basic seen-it-before revenge film, however, it presents an unflinching and stylised narrative that sees a mundane plot elevated to something tangible and surprisingly enthralling. Spanish director Pablo Cabezas brings a fresh style of filmmaking to the project and tells the story with a creative flair. His camera angles, lighting and production designs have a uniquely non-American quality about them and his action is energised and kinetic. Cage is good in the lead and is supported by a strong cast including Danny Glover and Peter Stormare. I was particularly impressed by the strength of the performances from Cage's two henchmen, played by Max Ryan and Michael McGrady. They grounded the film for me and kept Cage's performance in check. It is no masterpiece but in the sphere of Nicholas Cage films it stands out above most of his recent action films. Now available on home entertainment release it's worth a look.