[pullquote cite=”” type=”left, right”][amazon text=Amazon&template=carousel&chan=That Film Guy&asin=B00CLC5XUC][/pullquote] 2008’s Taken was a big hit when it came out. It combined great action, a thrilling story, and a very bad ass protagonist, to make a flawed but extremely fun action movie. The film spawned a number of imitators, mostly cheap direct-to-DVD movies looking to make some quick cash off the success of the film. One might argue ripping off Taken is pointless nowadays, because all credibility the film had was pretty much killed and buried in a ditch when Taken 2, its watered-down and nonsensical sequel, was released. But here it is, plain and simple. A film that shamefully rips of Taken right down to its title, Stolen. And who’s our swap out for Liam Neeson? Nicolas Cage.
Will Montogomery (Nicolas Cage) has just been released from prison after eight years after a bank robbery went wrong and he was caught stealing $10 million. He wants to re-connect with his daughter, but she seems less than thrilled to see him, and pretty much outright rejecting him. She catches a cab to go back home, as Will receives a call from Vincent Kinsey (Josh Lucas), a former partner in crime who was shot in the leg on the night of the failed robbery. He demands his share of the money, or he will kill his daughter, as he was the cab driver she got in with. Will tries to tell Kinsey that he burnt the money, but Kinsey tells him he wants his share in twelve hours. Now, it’s a race against time to either find his daughter or somehow get $10 million, while trying to avoid the FBI who are after him for breaking his parole.
Now while the plot in itself is not all that much like Taken, the execution is where it’s roots start to show. The action is as brutal as a 12A certificate can allow, and it tries to do the ‘ageing man can beat the young guys through sheer experience’ thing, but while Liam Neeson could pull this off, Nicolas Cage…not so much. He just doesn’t seem to understand he can’t do action. The odd role in a action-based movie he’s good in, see Big Daddy in Kick-Ass, but most of the time he’s just a terrible fit for an action hero. It’s such a shame because he’s so good at small, character-driven movies like Adaptation, but I suspect movies like Stolen pay a lot more.
The problem with Stolen is that it could have been over the top and cheesy, hell, even self-aware about how ridiculous its story and star are, and director Simon West even showed how good he was at this with the far superior The Expendables 2, but it’s just so bland and clichÃ©d there isn’t even that much to say about it. I almost feel bad for it.