Can it really be done, can you make a good sequel to one of the best neo-noir thrillers of the nineties? I think you already know the answer to the question. However, if you look at this movie from a different perspective you might be surprised at what you find. The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans is a stand-alone thriller offering another gritty story about a corrupt cop. This time the story takes place in New Orleans just after Hurricane Katrina. There’s water everywhere and the rules just went out of the window. For some, the rules were never there in the first place, as you can already guess.
Werner Herzog is a strange man who makes authentic documentaries and good movies. It’s hard to describe his directing style. At the same time, it’s full of metaphors, brutal realism, and over-the-top characters. And who do you get to play the main over-the-top character? None other than unhinged Nic Cage. He will be playing Terence McDonagh, a drug addict, a very violent man, and a cop. Just to be perfectly clear, The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans is not a sequel or a reboot of the original Bad Lieutenant.
As far as I understand it, producers were behind this whole mess, looking for a quick buck at the box office. Werner Herzog had never seen the original movie nor heard about it. What the two movies do share is a story about one bad lieutenant. To make things just a tad bit weirder, Nic Cage was behind the change of the main location from New York to New Orleans. He wanted to help them in their hour of need, which is quite commendable. And the switch makes sense from a logical standpoint as in a time of crisis opportunities take advantage of that situation.
With all of that out of the way, it’s finally time to talk about what this movie is really like. The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans is an entertaining, bizarre, and darkly comical thriller without almost any suspense. So, it’s definitely a movie worth watching just don’t expect any wonders from it. Nic Cage gave another stellar performance along with Val Kilmer and Eva Mendes. Too bad everything here is too one-dimensional, leaving the viewer to do all the heavy lifting if he wants to. To think about the broader implications of the events or just how fucked the situation really is.
If you don’t want to, you don’t have to go that deep. Remain on the surface and the movie will reward you with genuinely funny exchanges, surreal scenes, and a couple of twists you won’t see coming. I will skip my usual short summary of the plot because I want you to just dive into the story. While our anti-hero will be looking for his next fix, he will also have to solve a string of murders. This is basically an indie version of the big police movies we’re used to seeing. And this makes it feel really strange. Good strange, not bad strange. So, if you’re looking for something different and slightly unhinged do check it out.
Director: Werner Herzog
Writer: William M. Finkelstein
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Val Kilmer, Eva Mendes, Jennifer Coolidge, Xzibit, Brad Dourif
Fun Stuff: For the scenes where his character is snorting cocaine, Nic Cage was using baby powder.