Sunday, December 02, 2012


movie review

Stolen **

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Josh Lucas, Danny Huston, Malin Åkerman, M.C. Gainey, Sami Gayle, Mark Valley
Directed by: Simon West
Tagline: 12 hours. $10 million. 1 kidnapped daughter.

After serving eight years in prison for a bank heist gone awry, a former thief, Will Montgomery (Nicolas Cage), hopes to reconnect with his daughter (Sami Gayle) upon his release from jail. But unknown to him, his old partner Vincent (Josh Lucas) is holding a grudge. Convinced that Will still has the $10 million from the robbery, Vincent kidnaps Will's daughter, locks her in the trunk of his cab, and demands the money as ransom, as Will tries to rescue her while being pursued by the agents who put him away.

So a father who will stop at nothing to get his daughter back? Sounds familiar? Yes, Stolen's plotline brings 2008's runaway hit Taken to mind, but the execution makes Taken look like a masterpiece in comparison. As far as action movies go, this is as by-the-numbers as it gets. Stolen moves along at a reasonably swift pace; bank robberies, skirmishes, car chases, shootouts … there's plenty of action thrown into the proceedings. What's missing, though, is a decent story, a good script, and any sense of novelty or suspense.

If the filmmakers' intent was to see how many clichés can be crammed into one and a half hours of film, then Stolen is a job well done. Nothing happens at any point in the movie that hasn't transpired a number of times in other action flicks. Originality and creativity don't even bother to make an appearance in the movie, and neither does logic. And the ending is so preposterous that it's simply absurd, even by the relatively modest standards of such films.

Its recognizable cast can't really help the project much; Cage's act is weary, and while Josh Lucas is on hand to deliver an over the top madcap performance, there isn't much anyone could've possibly done with this tired material to make it the least bit exciting or convincing. It is sad to see the director and star of 1997's cult hit Con Air reunite to produce this kind of twaddle, and it's depressing to see that the one time Academy Award winner Nicolas Cage has now come to this. His recent projects have included a deplorable string of films, including Season of the Witch (2011), Drive Angry (2011), and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (2012), and it is fairly obvious that he needs to start being more picky about the projects he selects if he wants to have any credibility left with the audience.

To be fair, Stolen does make a half-hearted effort to be amusing and entertaining, but is ultimately let down by the lack of a good story and script, and an absolute dearth of originality. You've seen it all before, and you've seen it done better. The movie will be best enjoyed by those who have a very high tolerance for ludicrous plot developments and/or possess the skill to find amusement in obviously cheesy drivel, but Stolen's collage of movie clichés will ultimately come off as nothing more than unnecessary and forgettable.

- Sameen Amer

Instep, The News on Sunday - 2nd December, 2012

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