Published Jun 01, 2000Nicholas Cage will always be remembered as a great actor, an actor with the ability to infuse his characters with the intangibles that make audiences connect with him, and an actor who possesses a charisma to soothe even the most savage of critics. Whether it's by playing a self-destructive alcoholic (Leaving Las Vegas), turning the geekiest of geeks into an action hero (The Rock) or just being a bizarre down and out loser (Raising Arizona), Cage has established himself as an actor first and foremost, and that's what makes his latest movie so confusing. Cage is just going through the motions instead of putting on a performance. His latest movie in his current cycle of "action" movies is an unapologetic "summer" movie grandiose, simple and loud.
There's lots of action (although not as much as you would expect from a director who cut his teeth filming music videos) but little in the way of character development. Cage basically plays the "action" Cage, some zany hand gestures and such, and the rest of the cast, which includes some heavy hitters like Robert Duvall and Delroy Lindo, are reduced to side dishes. There is a plot, however. Cage plays Randall "Memphis" Raines, one of the greatest car thieves ever, so good that he never gets caught and eventually retires and relocates before the fuzz can make the pinch. However, his younger brother, Kip Raines, (played in excellent white trash form by Giovanni Ribisi) has decided to follow in his absent brother's footsteps and falls in with the wrong crowd. He blows a job (the job? Steal fifty really cool cars within a very tight time frame) and gets in deep with a very inflexible and disreputable fellow (played by Christopher Eccleston). Enter Cage, who returns to bail out his brother only to be forced to complete the job, if he doesn't his brother gets iced, so of course he returns to the life he thought he left behind, with a little help from his friends.
Although Gone is a pretty typical action movie, it does possess some traits that make it remotely good (besides Angelina Jolie with dreadlocks). The chase scenes are exhilarating (despite the fact that some of the chases defy both physics and logic), with tons of shit getting smashed and breathtaking close calls. The vehicles look fabulous (if you're a car buff, this movie is for you) and did I mention Angelina Jolie? Still, Gone succeeds because it has no aspirations to be anything other than what it is, a big, dumb, action movie. And a pretty good one.