Behind the cryptic title Stolen hides a forgettable but watchable thriller about a thief who has only 12 hours to come up with the cash or his daughter dies. It stars Nicolas Cage, reuniting him with director Simon West 15 years after Con Air. And when I said that this movie is forgettable, I really meant it. When you get up the next day, you might not even remember you watched. Especially if you got high. The reason for this is pretty obvious as the movie is a formulaic thriller with only one goal: to mildly entertain you for ninety minutes.
And there’s nothing wrong with that. I can say that I truly enjoyed watching it last night. It required zero effort on my part, I was able to make sandwiches and roll another one without paying attention to the screen. Stolen is one of those movies you play in the background. And yet, it might just surprise you with a couple of nifty tricks. First of all, the ticking clock gimmick is introduced early on. I’m talking about the whole you have 12 hours to come up with millions or your daughter dies. This makes the movie feel more intense and shorter.
Secondly, we will get that trademark Nic Cage performance. Yeah, he’s a bit older but he’s still kicking ass. I would also like to single out Josh Lucas who has a knack for playing unhinged bad guys. If you want more proof just check him out in a 2003 thriller based on true events Wonderland. Thirdly, Simon West is an excellent director and he’s got a couple of tricks up his sleeve. The storytelling was spot on and the action sequences look pretty cool. The car chases were especially juicy with risky stunts that look like they’re straight out of some eighties B movie. And I mean that in the best sense possible.
By the way, did you know that West directed not only Lara Croft and Expendables 2 but also Rick Astley’s music video Never Gonna Give You Up? Yeah, that one. Too bad he’s not getting any money every time someone gets rickrolled. Moving on, Stolen is not some direct-to-video crap but a movie with a budget of $35 million. So, the production values are quite good. I mean, one of the little things I truly appreciated was that they used a real thermal camera and not special effects. Almost the entire story is taking place in New Orleans.
If you’re going to make a slick action thriller, this is the place to do it. The town is as colorful as ever and you really can’t tell that Hurricane Katrina almost destroyed not six years ago. Moreover, just two years earlier, Nic Cage was in another thriller taking place in this colorful city, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans.
Director: Simon West
Writer: David Guggenheim
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Josh Lucas, Danny Huston, Malin Akerman, Mark Valley
Fun Facts: Clive Owen and Jason Statham were considered for the lead role before Nic Cage accepted it.