Monday, September 15, 2014

Film Review: Rage (aka Tokarev) (2014)

Rage (aka Tokarev) (Review)
United States/2014
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...works as a generic kidnap thriller, though, at least enough to moderately entertain."

When his daughter is kidnapped, reformed criminal Paul Maguire (Nicolas Cage) reverts to his life of crime and seeks vengeance...

Rage is a very familiar kidnap thriller. Paul, a reformed criminal with a legitimate business, teams up with his old crew to track his daughter's kidnappers -- usually through violent methods. After evidence links the crime to a Tokarev, a Russian mafia favored gun, Paul believes the past has returned to haunt him. He believes his past actions against a Russian mobster may have come back on him and his daughter. It's a very familiar story, which is also lacking in meat. The climax is a little different and even interesting. The ending is decent, too.

Ultimately, Rage is a been-there-done-that kidnap thriller, though. As you can see, the story offers little originality; the climax and ending have some uniqueness to them, but not nearly enough to redeem the rest of the film. The characters are very thin -- they're cardboard cutouts of other films, they're practically nonexistent. In fact, aside from Paul, I can't remember any of their names of the top of my head -- and I just finished the film not 30 minutes ago! The story doesn't have much going for it.

However, I wouldn't say Rage is a terrible film. I wouldn't even say it's a bad film. Generic? Yes, definitely. Rage works as a generic kidnap thriller, though, at least enough to moderately entertain. I may have seen a dozen films with the same premise and I may not have had an emotional connection with any of the characters, but I was entertained. As generic as it may be, the story is interesting and the simplicity is attractive -- especially for those looking to kill an hour and a half. The action sequences are generous, as well, with a few decent shootouts, a few chase scenes, and some knife combat -- all in a very stylish coat.

The acting ranges from mediocre to good. Nicolas Cage is occasionally good, but mostly mediocre -- he simply couldn't hit the demanding notes of this performances. Some of the supporting cast also suffers, but it's more than passable. The film looks great, I enjoyed the cinematography and the lighting. The use of slow-motion is a little too excessive at times, though; it makes for some great looking shots, but cuts the pacing and drags the film a bit, especially during the ending. The music is hit-or-miss -- sometimes it's great, sometimes it doesn't fit. Director Paco Cabezas has a strong grip on the style, creating some slick and memorable moments -- the film looks great; however, the film has some shoddy acting, some bad pacing, and a stupendously generic story -- I still can't believe films can be this generic.

Overall, Rage, also known as Tokarev, is a barely decent kidnap thriller. It is a very generic story with some mediocre acting, but it also has some decent entertainment value -- especially for those simply looking to kill some time. If you're tired of this plot, don't bother watching -- it's the same, nothing new. But if it still hasn't grown old for you, and you're a fan of some cheesy Nicolas Cage movies, this is at least worth a rental or stream. Not a bad film, but nothing special, either -- stuck somewhere in the middle.

Score: 5/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood.

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