<script async src="//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js"></script> <!-- Showbiz Portal Bottom 1 300x250, created 10/15/10 --> <ins class="adsbygoogle" style="display:inline-block;width:300px;height:250px" data-ad-client="ca-pub-1272644781333770" data-ad-slot="2530175011"></ins> <script> (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); </script>
Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Nov 19, 2021



NICOLAS CAGE made two movies this year: “Pig” and “Prisoners of the Ghostland”. “Pig” is a slow moving drama lionized by U.S. critics but after watching it, we found it so overrated.  

“Prisoners” is from Japanese director Sion Sono, known as the most subversive filmmaker in Japan today and best known for his 6-hour 2008 film “Love Exposure” that won in the Berlin Filmfest. 

He’s their own version of Lav Diaz and “Prisoners” is his English-language debut.

The futuristic action-fantasy is set in a place called Samurai Town, which was devastated years ago when toxic nuclear waste was spilled in it by an accident involving a garbage transport vehicle. 

The town is a mishmash of old American west and elements of old and contemporary Japanese society.

The town is ruled by a flashy and promiscuous leader called the Governor (Bill Mosely), who has a harem of sex slaves he calls his granddaughters. 

One of them is Bernice (Sofia Boutella), escapes from the Governor’s house with two other girls and are now said to be in Ghostland, an area outside of Samurai Town peopled by victims of the waste radiation and other outscasts.

Nicolas Cage plays Hero, a criminal who got arrested in a bank robbery after his partner, Psycho (Nick Cassavetes), needlessly killed a number of innocent people. 

It is shown later that Psycho was in a prison vehicle that crashed into the waste truck that resulted into the environmental disaster.

The Governor orders that Hero be released from prison to help get back Bernice from the Ghostland.

 Hero is given a unique bodysuit and he wears it, not knowing that it is embedded with explosives that can be detonated in case he tampers with it or attempts to do any hanky-panky. It will also explode if he’s not succeed to retrieve Bernice in five days.

So starts Hero’s escapades in the Ghostland where he carves his own path to redemption. He meets mutants who take him captive. 

He also meets Bernice, who he recognizes as a young girl whose mother was killed in the bank robbery and was subsequently became adopted by the Governor as a granddaughter. 

Hero eventually leads the towns people to rebel against the oppressive Governor. There are some neatly stage action set pieces in between but overall, the movie is just rambling, overlong with its tedious flashbacks and plain boring to watch. 

Sono is definitely overrated as a filmmaker with a taste for the bizarre as evidenced by his absurd production design with its extravagant excesses that call attention with its neon lit streets, towering clock and outlandish costumes and artifice.  

But the problem is that we don’t really care for any of its many characters. Sono probably thinks he’s telling a joke but sorry, we don’t get it. 

Too bad he is not able to mine the star power and the weirdness of Nicolas Cage’s screen persona like the way the very violent film “Mandy” did. 

In fairness, Cage gives a fairly high spirited portrayal of Hero who is strapped into a leather suit that can self-destruct and it indeed blasted out one of his testicles. Ouch! 

If you want him doing serious drama about grieving, then watch him in “Pig”.