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Film Review: '211' Is One of Nicolas Cage's Least Inspiring Films of 2018

by Suzanne Rothberg 4 years ago in review

The York Shackleton Bank Heist Action-Thriller Fails to Entice Film Afficionados

Nicolas Cage as Officer Mike Chandler in '211.'

Nicolas Cage keeps heading on a downward spiral— cranking out mediocre indie B-straight-to-DVD and VOD films no less than a span of five movies at a time in five months just to pay the bills. They keep going under the radar and are not films audiences are interested in viewing these days. It’s such a travesty because he is a very talented actor, but he just hasn’t been cast in the right film role that really captivates audiences.

I have a solution to this dilemma. One of the major film studios should produce a modern-day remake of the film, Midnight Express and have him play the lead role of Billy Hayes, and then this could very well be the breakthrough of a real Nicolas Cage comeback that he so desperately needs! You never know, this may earn him a second Oscar! He is made for that role! It’s very relevant to the current times. Hey Nic, are you listening to me? I'm just trying to get your undivided attention and give you some feedback. I want you to succeed and help you get back into the spotlight!

What's the '211'?

Nic's newest independent film is called 211, directed by York Shackleton who also wrote the screenplay. It's released by Momentum Pictures and Millennium Films. Its name is based on the police code ‘211’ which translates to “robbery in progress.” The concept is based on true events of the most dangerous and deadly bank heist ever witnessed in Los Angeles history. This film, however, takes place in the fictional town of Chesterford, Massachusetts, and it was partially filmed in Bulgaria. This was the scene of the crime where Nic broke his ankle in a freak accident while filming there. The tagline on the film poster reads, "Your Life Can Change In An Instant." It couldn't be further from the truth—because when that accident occurred, Nic's life did change at that moment. But he's since recovered. The film is produced by Jeffrey Greenstein and Jonathan Yunger.

Nicolas Cage is outgunned and in the crossfire of dangerous criminals.

Cage plays Mike Chandler—a police officer on the verge of retirement who finds himself squarely in the crosshairs of the most dangerous bank heist and is unprepared to tackle heavily-armed, dangerous, and highly-trained professional criminals from Afghanistan; who think they are owed a large sum of money. One of the criminals is portrayed by Weston (Coppola) Cage, Nic’s son. He doesn’t have a huge part in the film and doesn’t say much—he’s just obsessed with shooting people with an assault rifle in the film and causing major chaos and destruction.

Chandler’s partner is his son-in-law (Dwayne Cameron) whose wife, Lisa, (Sophie Skelton) Chandler’s daughter, has a baby on the way. A young teenager is chosen as the 'ride-along' with the cops, but the director York Shackleton fails to reveal why the young man, Kenny (Michael Rainey, Jr.) is riding along with the cops in the car; catching all the action as it happens in real-time on his cell phone. Is he actually preparing to be a 'rookie cop-in-training?' or is it that the school he attends is trying to teach him a valuable lesson?

There’s one really clever line in the film that I thought was very funny when Chandler says, “Everywhere I go they got a camera in my face!” when he tells Kenny in the back seat of the police vehicle that he will confiscate his cell phone if he doesn't put it away. It’s very true in real life with Cage being a celebrity in the tabloids and on social media— because there are paparazzi like TMZ and fans that follow Nic everywhere whenever he is seen in public. I wonder if he improvised that line! There are very few moments of ‘Cage-Rage’ when Chandler is complaining to the police chief about being 'outnumbered' and 'outgunned' and is blaming the Chesterford Police that they were unprepared for a long and bloody bank heist ordeal.

Another Nic Cage Film Bites the Dust

The film is rather boring and staggers throughout with all the violent, blood splattering and chaotic scenes. It’s quite disappointing and not a film worth watching. Nic failed to promote the film with interviews. If he had, it would have been given more of a chance. I noticed something unusual about this loser film that really agitated me. Cage didn't have enough face-time on-screen—very little in the beginning sequence and a bit late in the middle and towards the end. The trailer told a different story— (You can usually tell if the movie is bad if the trailer appears to be better) it was edited to look like he was on-screen the entire time! He has top billing and is the star of the show so shouldn't he have more face-time on camera? Not only that, but the quality of the video editing and photography is choppy and needs serious improvement. It appears that this film was made on a shoestring budget.

I adore Nic Cage, but I think he should be more selective in choosing scripts. He deserves to be in far better films than this. The acting is sub-par and Cage fails to deliver and is not at the top of his game here. I’ve seen him perform better. He looks very fatigued, lost and confused— takes on any role he can get and rushed to complete this film. His heart just wasn’t in it. On the plus side, he looks really handsome and sexy as a cop in this movie!

The days of large profit cinema and box-office blockbusters are gone for Cage and other celebrities. VOD and streaming services such as Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix have taken over the entertainment industry as the preferred marketing tool for films to audiences—because of the convenience of watching movies at home; without worrying about wasting money and valuable time on poorly-made films like this one.

Rating: D-

Running time: 1 hr 26 min


Suzanne Rothberg

Suzanne Rothberg is an entertainment writer and video producer. She has interviewed many celebrities and musicians—including Justin Hayward and John Lodge of The Moody Blues, Jack Blades of Night Ranger, Tommy Shaw of Styx and many others.

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