Hollywood plagiarism or emotional simplicity? New Taken-esque flick Stolen gets considerable criticism.
Not every film can be an Oscar winner and yet there is still space in the world of cinema for trashy, popcorn action blockbusters. Stolen is a perfect example of this.
After a botched bank-job and eight years in prison, Will Montgomery, played by an average Nicolas Cage, returns to find his teenage daughter kidnapped. In typical action movie style, it is up to Cage to trawl the city and rescue his daughter.
What is that you scream? It’s a bit like what film? Oh – yes. You would be forgiven for detecting just a hint of déjà vu here. Reeking of Hollywood plagiarism, Stolen sounds an awful lot like Pierre Morel’s 2008 megahit Taken starring a much better kick-ass father, Liam Neeson.
Effects are important
Though the story is simple, unoriginal and the few twists can be seen coming a mile off; it is fair to say the film is extremely fast-paced and full of fun action. At no point are you sat waiting for something to happen. The fun stunts and small set pieces keep the film moving. For a film like this, with a weak storyline, effects are important.
One particularly outlandish scene sees Cage cuffed in the back of a police car, yet he manages to break his hand, squeeze it through the cuff and escape. Then, adding to the ridiculous nature, his hand is fine only moments later. Realism is not respected in Stolen.
Another, probably unintentionally hilarious, scene sees an Australian backpacker get into the vehicle where the daughter is being held. What ensues is possibly the worst caricature of an Australian person in recent years.
Metal leg and lack of fingers
Music that adds tension along with emotion is what is expected with an action adventure. Unsurprisingly, Stolen severely lacks this in most if not all scenes and is apparent from the opening scene. The same annoying tune is played during the majority of the 90-minutes film and gets right inside your head.
However, not all is bad. At its heart, Stolen is fun. The characters are odd, yet clearly defined. With his long hair, metal leg and lack of fingers, lead villain Vincent (Josh Lucas) is creepy enough and Montgomery’s kidnapped daughter (Sami Gayle) plays the horrified teenager successfully.
Although some scenes are bizarre and action-loaded, it isn’t enough to make this copycat film memorable. Without the faint star power of Cage, it would probably have been destined for a straight-to-DVD-release and shortly after the bargain bin.
Stolen is out March 22.