Runtime: 98 Mins
What To Expect: Bad writing, poor acting, worse directing…
This is another one of those films stuck in limbo between theatrical release and DTV obscurity. With a budget of $25,000,000 you’d think that it might somehow stand out among other B/C-Movies. Although I suspect that that budget is slightly exaggerated – not just big movies like The Avengers do this. Some people might think that Tokarev, like Joe (2014), is an important movie on the comeback of Nicolas Cage, but what’s more interesting about it is that it’s from the same studio (Hannibal Classics) that is going to let John McTiernan helm Red Squad, which will also likely feature Cage. So for that reason alone it’s probably worth checking out.
Anyway, when reformed mobster Paul Maguire’s (Nicolas Cage) daughter is kidnapped and murdered with a Tokarev pistol, Maguire deduces that Russian mobsters were involved, out to settle an old score. So he rounds up his old crew and they head on into town with some shotguns. Nice premise… but poor execution. After the first 15 minutes where the outline is established, the movie is like… “Shit, what now?!” And the director, Paco Cabezas, way out of his depth, even for a DTV project, is like… “Fuck! Damned if I know!” And so the movie loiters for the majority and will lose most viewership by the 50% mark. In the end, they try to get the ship back on course by injecting the SWERVE, and it really does put a bullet in the head of the movie. It’s awful, one of the worst endings presented in a long time.
The strongest thing about this movie is its cast. Along with Nicolas Cage comes Danny Glover and Peter Stormare… who, as well as providing the most profoundly disturbing Irish accent ever recorded, seems to find the whole thing slightly amusing. Not so fast though, these are respectable names but only on paper. This movie pulls the old ‘expensive DTV’ trick of bringing in such actors, sticking them in the trailer, then having them in the actual movie for 3-5 minutes – and that’s no exaggeration. What a con job. It’s also entirely predictable to say it but this movie has, you know what… shaking cam fucking bullshit. It’s 2014 and I’m telling you now I have zero fucking tolerance, I can’t even bring myself to get mad anymore. End it. Please.
On the upside, since this is from the same studio that John McTiernan will direct Red Squad for, I would argue that this movie is one rewrite short of and one director who wasn’t a complete fucking hack short of having potential. We know that McTiernan is God-Tier and only signed on under condition of not being fucked around – including being given a decent script, so with a slightly larger budget I think Mac Daddy can work a miracle and give them their best movie ever – and firmly put Nicolas Cage back on the map.
It’s sad, Cage tries, but the director here has no earthly idea what the movie is about or how to bring it to life. The ending in particular… you’d need ten hands to facepalm.