Nic Cage’s New Film Is A Unique Flop Type | Arts + Culture

What do you get when you cross paths with Papa Nic Cage, a samurai sword arm, a Wild West village meeting Japan and weird mutant ghosts? If you think this sounds awesome, you would be right. It SOUNDS awesome. Sadly, Sion Sono’s “Prisoners of Phantom Land” turned out to be a major letdown, with an indescribable void preventing audiences from truly falling in love with this strange new world.

On paper, Prisoners is a cult classic. Outlaw Cage, called only the hero, is tasked with finding and safely bringing back the governor’s daughter from the corrupt town. In order to make sure Cage lines up, the Governor equips a specialized leather suit armed with explosives that will detonate Cage’s arms, throat or testicles (yes, testicles) depending on the way he breaks orders. If he doesn’t come back in five days, all five bombs will explode at the same time. Cage must take a trip to the mysterious Ghostland to retrieve the girl or he can say goodbye to his life – and his balls.

Although he has a killer concept for the film, “Prisoners of Phantom Country” is a big nap party. The titular Ghostland isn’t visually special, and the journey to get there was surprisingly quick. Discovering the world didn’t feel like it was deserved, and the world itself isn’t worth much in the first place.

The loose plot winds without taking any real risks. Certainly not “The craziest movie I’ve ever made,” to quote beloved cult star Cage himself. Weird, yes, but the movie somehow manages to play it safe despite literally having a photo of Cage holding his own testicle in his hand and screaming in horror.

That being said, “Prisoners of Ghost Country” isn’t ALL bad. Some of the footage is really exciting to watch and the fight scenes, while rare, are expertly choreographed to maximize the entertainment. If director Sono had chosen to focus more on the mind-numbing aspect of this action flick, it would have been a blast. Instead, audiences are presented with metaphors and deeper meanings that aren’t fleshed out enough to feel authentic.

The highlight of the film is undoubtedly Cage’s performance, a surprise to absolutely no one. Cage has grown a lot since winning an Oscar in the late 90s and early 2000s, more recently choosing to focus on grungy underground films from independent studios.

Look, “Prisoners of Ghost Country” was pretty bad. It’s true. However, if you fail to get some fun out of it, you will have to be an incredibly bland human being. This is Nicolas-fucking-Cage we’re talking about. If you want top-notch cinema, go watch a Netflix original with White Boy of the Month. Nic Cage is the all-time white boy.

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