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Whenever Nicolas Cage’s name is attached to a project, the film critic side of me sighs and shakes his head in discouragement - but the less snooty movie-watching part of me is jumping over the moon with joy. Regardless of the quality of the films he’s appeared in over the last decade or so, Cage’s performances have rarely failed to entertain on both ironic and non-ironic levels. It doesn’t look like his latest project will disappoint my unrefined side.
Cage is set to play a reformed criminal in Tokarev, a new film set to be directed by Spanish filmmaker Paco Cabezas. Cage’s last few roles have been in the mostly forgettable Stolen, Trespass and the Ghost Rider sequel, but he’ll soon be playing a cop opposite a serial killing John Cusack in The Frozen Ground, leading the rapture-minded Left Behind reboot; and playing another ex-con in Joe, due out some time later this year. Those films sound fine and dandy, but Tokarev will undoubtedly be Cage at his most unhinged.
He’ll play Paul Maguire, a former crook whose daughter is kidnapped by the Russian mob. In response he calls up his old gang of hoodlums and together they try to get his daughter back. Sure, it bears more than a passing resemblance to Taken and a thousand other films, but it’s an interesting take on the stereotypical “let’s get the band back together” plotline. If Cage could somehow compact Mel Gibson’s most emotional moments from Ransom and channel that vibe for Tokarev, this might unintentionally be the best action film of the year.
Planned for a November 11, 2013 release, Tokarev - which named for a popular Russian semi-automatic pistol - was written by Sean Keller and Jim Agnew, who also co-wrote Dario Argento’s Giallo together. Cabezas is known for his Spanish films Neon Flesh and The Appeared. Hopefully by this time next year, all three will hopefully be known as the guys who made Nic Cage shave his head, or the guys who made Nic Cage ride a shark, or something equally entertaining.