Fans who thought Nicolas Cage’s performance in Joe was a sign that he’d started to concentrate on more challenging roles will likely be disappointed to see he’s inevitably followed it with a below-average action/crime thriller. Rage was previously known as Tokarev (a type of Russian gun that plays an important role in the story) but was later renamed, presumably to join the elite club of movies whose title rhymes with its star’s name (It’s Saving Mr. Banks starring Tom Hanks!).
Cage plays Paul Maguire, a successful construction manager in Alabama and overprotective father to a teenage daughter. After a few groan-inducing scenes establishing their relationship (he doesn’t let her date, but might make an exception if the guy has a job) she gets kidnapped. Cage must then confront his violent past to go after the kidnappers and try to get her back.
If this all sounds very much like the next Taken film, it’s worth remembering that Cage has in fact already made a Taken knock-off, it was called Stolen and came out 2 years ago.
Rage does take an early diversion from the Taken formula that’s mildly surprising. I won’t reveal it here but you can probably guess what it is. It’s also different in that rather than being a former agent, Cage is a former gangster who’s managed to go legit. Unfortunately the bulk of the film is standard revenge material as Cage and his former partners in crime go after the Russian mob for answers. There are violent interrogations and a couple of action scenes but it’s all generic, straight-to-DVD level stuff for the most part, and takes itself too grimly seriously to find any fun in the proceedings . Cage is reliable as ever but his co-stars are all on the dull side, there are even a couple of recognisable actors in there, Peter Stormare as a wheelchair-bound gangster and Danny Glover as a Detective (apparently still not “too old for this shit”).
There is however, one twist toward the end of the film that, unlike everything that’s gone before, is both original and unexpected. It’s the only noteworthy moment in this otherwise completely forgettable film. Unfortunately, even at its 90-odd minute run time, Rage has worn you down enough that it’s beyond rescuing by the time this revelation comes to light.
And as for Cage, next up is Left Behind…..oh dear.