The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans is not a direct remake nor a sequel to the grim 1992 movie starring Harvey Keitel as a drug and gambling addicted cop who abused his power to get away with illegal things. But they do cover the same material as in this movie Nicolas Cage is a Lieutenant with an injury to his back. Vicodin is prescribed by his doctor, but a few months later he has added cocaine to his daily recipe.
He shares this addiction with a hooker friend (Eva Mendes) and is bordering between doing his job and getting his kicks.
While covering the same subject matter this Bad Lieutenant movie is less grim in its execution. Having seen the Harvey Keitel movie some time ago in my recollection it was basically without a sense of humor and his character at points truly despicable. Cage is no nice guy here, but somehow he gets away with it more easy, even if he’s basically raping a girl while forcing her boyfriend to watch just so he won’t charge them with possession. Cage does here what he hasn’t done in a long time: act. Or to correct myself: act in a rather good movie.
Nicolas Cage has become somewhat of a joke over the last couple of years. After winning an Oscar for Leaving Las Vegas he went on to become an action hero in movies like The Rock, Con Air, Face Off and more which cemented his A-list status due to the box office success these movies proved to be. But over the last couple of years he has popped up in one bad movie after another, while always giving his best it’s hard to argue that movies like The Wicker Man will hardly become classics. With The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans Cage somewhat redeems himself.
The cast has some fairly recognizable names next to Cage and Mendes including Ex-Batman Val Kilmer, Fairuza Balk (where has she been?), Ride pimping Xzibit, Brad “voice of Chucky” Dourif and Jennifer “Stifler’s mom” Coolidge. But they all have low-key roles and give the center spot to Cage who slowly descends into his addictions during the movie. At one point he can’t even talk normal anymore, and at the last third of the movie he acts as weird as only Cage can and of course gets away with it.
Jennifer Coolidge deserves a special mention for her performance as the alcoholic girlfriend of Cage’s dad. Her character has been stripped down from anything remotely connected to glamorous. She walks round, with no make-up in sloppy clothing. It was a solid performance of an actress who knows how to steal scenes.
I was surprised about the conclusion of the movie which plays like a spoof and I was expecting to be a dream-sequence. The epilogue however does fit the tone of the movie and makes a nice round circle of the storyline.
I thought this movie to be more enjoyable than the original Bad Lieutenant which you can’t help but compare it to. The movie is less dark, while covering the same subjects. It has a more interesting cast and the lead character is given more depth by showing how het got to this point in his life.