Directed by Steven C. Miller
Jan 06, 2017
The bonds of brotherhood are put to the test when two Southern siblings are sucked into an underworld extortion plot. Brothers JP (Entourage’s Adrian Grenier) and Mikey (Johnathon Schaech) are as close as can be, yet couldn’t be more different – the former is a well-to-do entrepreneur, the latter a good-for-nothing lowlife who dabbles in dealing drugs. When Mikey goes missing, JP is the only one able (or willing) to save him, save for some light assistance from a rogue cop played by John Cusack.
This competent-but-underwhelming family crime drama feels a bit like a poor man’s Hell or High Water, what with its Southern setting, brotherly dynamics, and bitter ex-wives. The pacing and plot are entertaining enough to sustain the film’s 90-ish minutes even when you’ll see the twists coming from miles away. But that’s not why you’re here, is it? The primary reason this low-budget action-thriller is on anyone’s radar is that the trailer offered a few glimpses of Nicolas Cage flipping out while wearing a prosthetic nose, fake moustache, and terrible wig, and by god that’s more than enough to capture any true b-movie fan’s attention. Thanks to Cage’s need to pay off debts related to dinosaur skulls, pyramid tombs, and other similar insane person purchases, he’ll take on roles in a lot of these little features; thank goodness for us he never gives any role – no matter how small – less than his all.
So, how does the movie fare in the spectrum of crazy Nicolas Cage performances? Well, it’s no Kiss of the Vampire (what else is, besides Wicker Man?) but it’s pretty damn magnificent. Cage has a decent chunk of screentime as a loony Louisiana mob boss, and he plays much of it in the same way that a math teacher who moonlights in community theater would play a slurring old drunk. He’s given two really glorious scenes that are worth re-watching a few times in a row: one slow motion freakout that really shows off his goofy get-up, and an absolutely wonderful extended monologue, where Cage – covered in blood and dripping snot from his fake schnoz – gives his character’s entire back story while reading a letter that he retroactively wrote to a person he previously murdered. This, folks, this is prime Nicolas Cage. Performances like these are what directors have to hope for when they hire the notorious eccentric to show up on their set for a few days and wear a silly hairpiece. It’s the best reason to watch Arsenal – the other characters’ slo-mo action and gunplay are just the butter on the popcorn.
Author rating: 5/10
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