Nicolas Cage has made a habit out of starring in crazy movies that don’t always make it to the theater over the past several years, and while some are kind of fun, a good number of them make people cock their heads and wonder what the whole point was. In a very big way, Prisoners of the Ghostland is a big mashup of genres that are meant to come together in a post-apocalyptic manner that could work if things didn’t feel so disjointed. But at the same time, the Mad Max feel of it is something that a lot of people might still like since it’s not as by the numbers as some movies, and it does jump around a bit. Of course, that might confuse and irritate some folks while it could very easily arouse the interest of others. This story is intriguing to be fair, but it still comes off as tough to reconcile with any one genre. But that could be why it’s interesting enough to watch.
The western influence on Asian culture is kind of typical.
Bringing the west and east together is a rather common idea that a lot of people can easily get into since, while the cultures are far enough removed, they blend easily enough at times if the ideas are brought together in a way that facilitates an actual story and not an hour to 90-minute long bunch of nonsense. The pace and the subject of this movie make it a little tough to judge at times, but that appears to be the point now and then since Cage comes off as a grizzled and rugged individual that doesn’t care much for the plight of others, but has a great interest in serving his own needs. When he and his partner, Psycho, rob a bank with the intent of seeking riches, Psycho proves that he’s a little more unbalanced when he kills a child in the process of robbing the bank.
The protagonist isn’t perfect, but he’s not meant to be.
Hero is the type of character that some folks might see as unworthy of a second chance, but the movie is designed to make him appear expendable since, in all honesty, that’s how everyone else appears to see him. His worth to the Governor of the town that he’s being held in is as a courier of sorts, a hired hand that’s meant to wander into danger and retrieve a wayward ‘granddaughter’ who is actually a sex slave, much like the rest of the women that the Governor holds in his town. What’s really interesting is how the Governor decides to make sure that Hero will do what he’s told, meaning the jacket that’s fitted with the handful of strategically-placed bombs that are designed to incapacitate him if he decides to get any ideas of violence or of running. Plus, the timer that is set on them has added motivation for Hero to get the job done quickly and without any further fuss. Of course, Hero was still bound to be defiant, but this effort comes off kind of awkwardly given that Cage’s character opts to take a bicycle instead of a car to retrieve the wayward granddaughter.
The trek through the Ghostlands is brutal, without a doubt.
Hero takes more than his share of damage when it comes to losing a testicle and nearly losing an arm for the sake of bringing his young charge back to the Governor, but it becomes a type of redemption movie that allows him to transition from the role of a villain into a true protagonist that is still grizzled and miserable but is otherwise a positive force that is bound to bring change as he seeks to make things right. The battle between the Governor’s forces and those who seek to change things in the territory becomes one that most moviegoers should be able to see is going to be yet another victory for those who stand for freedom and what is right. But the manner in which this is accomplished is, well, something that feels like a bumpy and insane ride full of twists that are hard to anticipate.
One has to wonder if Nicolas Cage will ever rejoin his peers on the big screen in the same capacity.
There’s always the possibility that Cage will return to the prominence he experienced before losing his fortune, but at this time, it feels as though he’s sticking to the direct-to DVD and streaming movies that he’s frequented for a while. He’s not a bad actor, and he’s not hard to watch in most roles, but there is a need to wonder how long he can keep up the crazy act when it comes to his characters.
It’s a decent movie, to be honest, but not quite epic.