Blu-ray and DVD Reviews

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (Blu-ray)

Reviewed by: Scott Chitwood
Movie Rating:
5 out of 10
Extras Rating:
6 out of 10
Movie Details:
View here

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Rating: R

Starring:
Nicolas Cage as Terence McDonagh
Eva Mendes as Frankie Donnenfeld
Val Kilmer as Stevie Pruit
Fairuza Balk as Heidi
Xzibit as Big Fate
Shawn Hatosy as Armand Benoit
Jennifer Coolidge as Genevieve
Tom Bower as Pat McDonough
Vondie Curtis-Hall as James Brasser
Brad Dourif as Ned Schoenholtz
Denzel Whitaker as Daryl
Irma P. Hall as Binnie Rogers
Shea Whigham as Justin
Michael Shannon as Mundt
Joe Nemmers as Officer Larry Moy

Special Features:
Digital Photography Book
The Making Of
Theatrical Trailer
Alternate Trailer
Previews

Other Info:
Widescreen (1.85:1)
Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Spanish Subtitles
Running Time: 121 Minutes

The Details:
The following is the official description of the film:

"In Werner Herzog's new film 'Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans,' Nicolas Cage plays a rogue detective who is as devoted to his job as he is at scoring drugs -- while playing fast and loose with the law. He wields his badge as often as he wields his gun in order to get his way. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina he becomes a high-functioning addict who is a deeply intuitive, fearless detective reigning over the beautiful ruins of New Orleans with authority and abandon. Complicating his tumultuous life is the prostitute he loves (played by Eva Mendes). Together they descend into their own world marked by desire, compulsion, and conscience. The result is a singular masterpiece of filmmaking: equally sad and manically humorous."

"Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans" is rated R for drug use and language throughout, some violence and sexuality.

Mini-Review:
The combination of Werner Herzog and Nicolas Cage is definitely an interesting one. Herzog is an eccentric filmmaker whose movies can be a bit of an acquired taste. Cage is known for doing successful mainstream movies as well as more bizarre fare. Putting the two together, you really have no idea what might result. But "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans" ends up being a mix of both worlds.

The movie starts out straightforward enough. Nicolas Cage is Terence McDonagh, a cop that was once good but whose dependence on painkillers drove him further and further down the path of corruption. As he gets mixed up in bribery, gambling, prostitution, and drug dealing, his world progressively crumbles around him. That's where the weirdness really kicks in. McDonagh starts having hallucinations about iguanas that lead to odd, random scenes in the movie. He starts doing bizarre things like putting a gun to a little old lady's head to make her answer questions. He roughs up a young couple in order to get drugs from them, then holds a gun on the boyfriend as he has sex with the girl on a car. Yeah, you read that right. McDonagh's behavior becomes more and more erratic in his pursuit of drugs and, believe it or not, Cage actually seems to take on a different accent and different posture in his performance as the story progresses. He seems to be doing some imitation of Columbo. I couldn't make this stuff up.

So as you can see, it starts out like a mainstream cop drama and ends up being a weird Werner Herzog indie film. It's a strange transition that should appeal to independent film fans but will more than likely turn off mainstream movie fans. I think if the movie had starred anyone besides Nicolas Cage it would venture into the realm of the unwatchable, but somehow Cage makes it worth sticking with to the end. You may hate it at the end, but you'll still watch it.

Beyond Cage, the movie has a strong supporting cast. Eva Mendes delivers a strong performance as Frankie Donnenfeld, the drug addicted prostitute girlfriend of McDonagh. It's also good to see Val Kilmer in action again as Stevie Pruit. His role is small but he's well paired with Cage. Then you have Brad Dourif as the bookie Ned Schoenholtz, Xzibit as the drug lord Big Fate, and Jennifer Coolidge as Genevieve. You couldn't ask for a better supporting cast. Then, of course, you have post-Katrina New Orleans which is practically a character in itself. The city always adds an interesting backdrop to any movie and this is no different. From the French Quarter to the alligator infested highways, Herzog makes the most of it.

"Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans" was a bit too weird for my tastes, but I think it will appeal a lot to fans of Werner Herzog and any fan of Nicolas Cage's more bizarre roles. Don't let the Blu-ray cover fool you - this is a lot more 'out there' than you would expect.

There are really only two bonus features on this Blu-ray. The first is a photo gallery shot by Herzog's wife. It is a nice collection of pictures. The other bonus feature is a 'making of' documentary. It's kind of in the 'fly on the wall' format where you see them shooting the movie and chatting behind the scenes. But there are also sit-down interviews with the cast and crew. It does help a little to hear Herzog explain what he's doing with the film.

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