Outcast: Nic Cage Stars in Dull-as-Dishwater Samurai Action
Andy OnHayden Christensen...
Action & AdventureDrama
As an actor who seems to have trouble saying no, the always-eager Nicolas Cage taps into his inner-samurai and stars as a squinting – and often growling – 12th Century medieval crusader in Nick Powell’s directionless action -adventure flick, Outcast.
Written by James Dormer, Outcast begins its story somewhere in the Middle East with Gallain – a.k.a The White Ghost – (Cage) and his side-kick, Jacob (Christensen), making their way through an army of enemy soldiers. However, Gallain – the older and wiser of the two – has grown tired of his nomadic life of violence and wishes his younger companion would feel the same. The two soon go their separate ways after Gallain fails to talk sense into Jacob.
The story then fast-forwards to three years later and relocates to the Far East, with the Great Warrior, Shing (On), trying to make an unlawful claim to the emperor’s throne; an act which soon forces his sister Lian (Liu) and his ten-year old brother, Zhao (Jiahang) – who happens to be the next in line for the throne – to escape, but not without taking the royal seal with them. The pair soon come across Jacob, whose opium addiction and need for money lead him offer protective services to the pair from Shing’s army.
Outcast, to put it simply, is one big ball of medieval messiness. The film marks the directorial debut of veteran martial arts expert and stunt coordinator, Nick Powell – some of his best work include The Last Samurai and The Bourne Identity – so in terms of action, the movie is relatively solid. But aside from a few interesting sword-and-arrow battle scenes, the overall effect, in terms of the actual story and character development, is more than underwhelming. The script – which has apparently been in the works for quite a few years –lacks the same amount of creativity and focus, leaving the film, and its flat and dreary characters, riddled with clichés and going-through-the-motions developments.
Employing a rather dubious British-accent, Cage – who actually doesn’t make a second appearance till about halfway through the film – is, well, Nicolas Cage and spends most of his time grimacing and grunting his way through the script, while Christensen – sporting a peculiarly modern Mohawk – is given very little to build on.
It’s all rather disturbing; shoddy, underdeveloped and corny, Outcast ticks all the boxes of a nineties straight-to-DVD action flop – it’ll be on repeat on MBC2 at some point, though, so get ready for that.