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The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans

Film One Star
I had been warned, "Bad Lieutenant New Orleans Port of Call was awful" I was told, and yet critics still seemed to be giving it some praise, even if sometimes it seemed a little twisted, but I wanted to see it. I wanted to see how bad it was, and I wanted to discover why some critics really liked it and thought there was something to it.

Of course I'm glad I didn't listen to that voice that was telling me not to go, not because the film turned out to be good, although there was something there, but I did really get to see just how bad it gets, and it got bad.

Plot.pngThe film is a stand alone from the first Bad Lieutenant, and sees Nicolas Cage playing a cop who, with his partner played by Val Kilmer, are policing New Orleans at the time when the hurricane hit. He and his partner return to a jail to discover a prisoner still stuck in his cell, and as they look down from the walkway above, they see that the water is rising fast and he's already in danger of drowning.

After some banter between the three of them, the cops decide to leave, but a second thought from Cage's character sees him leap over the walkway and into the water...

Leap forward and we discover that he's badly hurt his back in the leap and is given pain killers to take for the rest of his life, his doctor telling him that he'll be in considerable pain, and so he turns to drugs to try and mask the pain. Pretty soon he's addicted.

Still, he's been promoted to a Lieutenant, but with the drugs and gambling increasing in his life, he's in real trouble. He owes a considerable amount to his bookie, his girlfriend is an addicted high class prostitute whom he helps out and falls fowl of a dangerous and high powered man who threatens to kill them if they don't give him a large amount of cash and let his goons have their way with his woman, and finally, he's now helping out a major drug dealer avoid the police. His life is a mess and it's going downhill faster and faster.

TheFilm.pngBadLieutenantNewOrleans.jpgI have to tell you about the thing that surprised me the most to begin with and that's the fact that there is an interesting story in here, but as soon as it starts to appear it's being pushed away by magically appearing iguanas, point of view filmed alligators and other such nonsense, particularly come the end of the film.

Nicolas Cage was actually good for the most part, and for the first half of the film I was actually wondering if this could be one of the best performances that I've seen from him in a very long time.

I found myself being drawn into the story, and there weren't any laughs from the audience except for the odd bit of outlandish behaviour from Cage's character. However that began to turn around when he's in the middle of a scene with his fellow police and starts ranting about there being an Iguana there and interacting with it, something the rest of the police don't find that disturbing.

It's not really that either, it's the moments that follow where Werner Herzog has decided to continue the scene by moving a hand-held camera about in close proximity to the Iguanas, keeping them in the foreground and then clearly telling Val Kilmer and Cage to keep looking forward. It seems to go on for ages, and that's where the audience started laughing. Eventually Cage slowly, and I mean slowly, turns towards the Iguanas and the scene cuts.

Bizarre, and the later scene of the hand-held camera following the alligator has me once again wondering what's going on and what Herzog was intending with these scenes, and they keep coming. The break-dancing dead guy is another strange one.

Cage does do quite a good show of taking his character deeper and deeper into trouble and more and more out of control, and it is fair to say that this is a return to his better portrayals, it's just such a shame that the film is so bad.

Eva Mendes and Xzibit are worth mentioning here, because both are rather good in the film, although neither get a great deal of screen time, they do hold their own against some manic performances of Cage.

However all the good work the actors try and do is thrown away by the completely ludicrous ending. I'm not joking when I thought that this was some bizarre Bobby in the shower from Dallas sequence, but the ending just keeps running with it right to the closing frame and there's not a hint of a let up.

Without giving anything away, it's like everyone just got bored of making the film and had no idea nor inclination to continue the story, so they just tied everything up in this bizarre out-worldly experience. The ending was a joke that destroyed the rest of the film, what there was of it.

Overall.pngThere are some interesting moments to the film, and there is a story that is whimpering to get out, but it's lost behind the hand-held alligator and iguana cams, and the ludicrously insane ending.

I wouldn't bother watching this if I was you, it'll be a waste of your time and you'll find little redemption at the end of it, you'll just be wondering why, just like I am.

Buy from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com
UK IMDB Film Details



i saw a clip of this movie recently too..[cage looks impressive and dynamic in the main role: could be his best role since Face / Off]

Well, I liked the ending: it was an ironic reversal of the original film, as well as ironic play on hollywood convention of the happy ending. yes, its absurd, self-parodic, but is also in step with the rest of the film, which i enjoyed. one has to go into a herzog movie free of expectations if one is to accept it...

I'm curious where the irony is. Just chucking on a cheesy Hollywood ending isn't ironic, it's just chucking on a cheesy Hollywood ending.


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