With the ridiculous amounts of praise that this film, "Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call New Orleans" (its ludicrous to even call the film that so I'll just call it "Port Of Call New Orleans" since its precursor makes little sense as a sequel or remake to the original "Bad Lieutenant") has made some waves as a film both gritty and intense. Strangely enough, although I did find that it was gritty and pleasantly bleak, I rarely found it as intense or as intriguing as most others did. This film is good, but its not the hype machine that it was made out to be.
Nic Cage plays Terence McDonagh, a cop that's, you know, a little hooked on coke (he got there through some back problems as if that makes it seem right at some point) and he is in quite a bit of trouble. He owes a lot of money to his bookie, the case he is on finding the killers of a five man execution is going to shit, and his prostitute girlfriend is getting in with some bad customers. Its not looking so hot for poor Terence. In fact, its building to quite the shit storm for him.
So lets start with the good. "Port Of Call New Orleans" is realistic and gritty to the end. It might as well have been made in 1988 with its dark gloomy outlook on society, the psyche, and the general state of morality of the characters and the city of New Orleans. Its a wonderfully bleak atmosphere that's bound to get one sucked right into its darkness. Some great performances from all involved (even Nic Cage whom I'm not even all that fond of) make this film somewhat of a subtle and disturbing watch.
Now lets get to the bad. Alright, perhaps bad is not the word to use. But the confusing elements of "Port Of Call New Orleans". For a film that is so realistic I found it odd that they incorporated some coke induced hallucination moments. Although the first time that Terence sees the iguanas that disturb him so much has a dark comedic element to it, it still feels a bit out of place. And the 'dancing soul' scene really struck an odd cord. And for a film so bleak and dark, its ends on a pretty positive note, something that seems also out of place although that does have a nice tied together feeling that not everything has to end as shitty as they get. It still felt a little out of place. It was nice that the film tried to give even more weight to its rather thin plot (the film seems more concerned with character study rather than plot progression).
"Port Of Call New Orleans" was a pretty neat and interesting watch with its darkness and its movement through a torn city, but at times it felt a bit scatter shot and not the beastly film that it was hyped to be. It's nice to see Nic Cage do something worth watching even if his personal life has tanked as of lately. This is a film thats worth the rental but definitely not for everyone.
BONUS RANT: This film has some pretty awesome actors in it. Brad Douriff, Xhibit, and Val Kilmer all make some nice appearances here...BUT...I think that many of them were severely underused. These guys all can be amazing actors and none of them truly get to strut their stuff here. It seems to be Nic Cage's film (character study I guess) and it mostly stays that way. How can you tame Val Kilmer?! You bastards!!
BONUS RANT PART II: Nic Cage seriously needs to do something else with his hair. I found more often than not I couldn't help but stare at it like some sort of half skinned possum that lives on his scalp. So distracting from his rather solid acting in the film.
Written By Matt Reifschneider
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