Stolen (UK - DVD R2)
Nic Cage's daughter is Take... Stolen in this new Simon West action thriller...
Will Montgomery (Nicolas Cage) ends up in prison after a botched bank robbery, largely down to a couple of his teammate’s lack of professionalism. After his time inside, Will is out and looking to re-bond with his daughter, who wants little to do with him but when she’s kidnapped by one of Will’s old friends (Josh Lucas), Will must fight his way to get her back, no matter what it takes.
Now I went into Stolen assuming it was going to be just like Taken but directed by uninspiring action director Simon West. The opening score makes it feel more like a heist movie or The A-Team or something and made me re-think my assumption. Then comes Cage, Lucas and Akerman and it felt like I was watching a modern caper movie as opposed to something from retro gritty thriller land ala Liam Neeson's current 'thing'. I started to give Stolen the benefit of the doubt. Maybe it wasn't going to be another spin on Taken maybe it was just going to be another boring re-hash of an expert criminal with a heart of gold.
The bank robbery is actually pretty slick and if it wasn’t for those around him, Cage’s Will might not come across all that idiotic with his overwhelming sense of right and wrong in a sticky situation. The bank itself feels like they’re running around the set of Dark Knight, from the main floor all the way into to the vault, I swear its the same location that Nolan used. In fact from the moment they escape the bank the whole thing starts feeling like a Nolan homage. How the city is shot and how the car chases are handled are all very Dark Knight Trilogy in looks, though obviously there’s a whole lot less Batcharm without a Tumbler at the centre of it all. Really the action is good, West may be uninspiring with his films in general but he can throw cars around pretty well and despite the cheesy score everything ticks all the right boxes for earning' 'cool' points.
Of course once the film settles down, skips forward a few years and Will’s daughter is kidnapped, then Stolen's curveball opening disappears and it really becomes just what I expected, the latest spin on Taken. There’s lots of heated mobile phone conversations and threats and plenty of running and multiple obstacles keeping Cage from his movie daughter. It’s all very flaccid and lazy and despite some well strung together set pieces there’s nothing here to ignite much in the way of excitement really.
Cage has had a tough run of late. Either playing batshit crazy leads, making him somewhat the internet’s whipping boy or taking on roles that just don’t find an audience and just come off as boring. Here Cage is in boring mode. At times you wish he’s go a bit nuts just to make it interesting but no, this is paint by numbers thriller territory, with a star trying to find a new route in his wavering career. Sadly this doesn't really stand up against the unexpected hit that re-started all this kidnapping movie stuff again, Taken and this just ends up slipping Cage into that straight to DVD feeling crowd of old actioners.
The film has a strong blue tint to it throughout, giving everything a cool or cold feel in the day and a semi comic book movie look in the dark. This is more slick modern actioner in looks rather than a gritty thriller and using Mark Wahlberg’s filmography as a example, this would be more Max Payne as opposed to The Departed in visual style.
Lighting is used well throughout, from bright cop car sirens to natural day light. Everything is fresh, detailed and holds crisp enough edges for DVD standards. Black levels are varied but always solid, colours also seem fairly natural despite the strong blue presence. This is very much an example of modern mainstream action when it comes to looks. Everything is crisp, bright, well shot and would no doubt leap off of the screen in High Definition. Here on DVD, its does a good job at showing off and doesn't even look all that soft really.
This is a pretty standard modern thriller in sound design. Good and strong sound effects, crisp central dialogue and a driving score balanced well across all the channels. Bass rumbles along with the odd larger hit or two but the big jumps in dynamic audio is with the sound effects. Safe drills, clunks and bumps of general safe cracking techniques all add the extra sprinkle and gunshots of course stick out of this standard but effective track.
The particularly ill fitting score, much akin to a TV cop show from the 80s is a real grinder on the enjoyment here. It sounds good in the mix, underpinning small scenes or lifting up others but no matter how good the story, or indeed some of the characters are, the underpinning light mid afternoon cop show score makes everything feel a little too safe for its own good. It’s quite a memorable main theme but it just didn't fit the mood the film was toying with for me.
The disc opens with trailers for Last Stand, Olympus Has Fallen, Rebellion and Hummingbird then its on to the extras. 'Behind the Scenes’ (06:20) is a lot of on set footage with cast and crew talking about the movie and then the ‘Cast and Crew of Stolen’ (04:40) featurette is just interviews with the cast bigging up the film for all it’s worth.
Stolen started okay but soon slips into thriller “Meh-dom” pretty fast. Cage is light and breezy and doesn't really sell the distraught Dad as much as the film probably needed him to and the cast around him don’t do much to lift Stolen out of easy-to-forget-ville. The disc is pretty good to look at for DVD and the audio delivers to. However the Extras are thin and fluffy and we end up with a film that’s easy to watch but not really one that will keep you locked in to its pretty typical events.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 5th August 2013
Disc Type: Single side, dual layer
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1 English
Subtitles: English HoH
Easter Egg: No
Director: Simon West
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Josh Lucas, Danny Huston , Malin Akerman
Genre: Action, Drama and Thriller
Length: 90 minutes
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