“Katrina didn’t run us out and neither will Eddie King!” – Mississippi good guy Adrian Grenier taking matters into his own hands to go up against local crime boss Nicolas Cage. Yes, he actually says that line in the movie.
One of these days Nicolas Cage is going to show up at your door, offering to give you the latest up-close-and-personal experience in home entertainment viewing.
The man is busy.
Cage was in five movies, including the immortal “Dog Eat Dog” and the also immortal “Army of One,” in 2016, and he has six more films coming out this year.
Nearly every role brings a new, insanely distracting hairstyle, some fresh and strange facial hair, perhaps a nifty accent — and in the case of “Arsenal,” we get all of that PLUS a prosthetic nose, for absolutely no reason.
With his Gerard Depardieu-level schnoz and a moptop wig that looks like it was lifted from a third-rate George in a bad Beatles cover band, Cage goes full-throttle maniacal as Eddie, a character he first played in the forgotten 1993 oddity “Deadfall.” The seedy crime boss in Biloxi, Mississippi, is prone to fits of sadistic violence, whether he’s placing a pipe in some poor sap’s mouth and then taking a baseball bat to the guy’s face, or beating a man to death with his bare hands.
It’s another Curiosity Act of a performance from an actor who once took home an Academy Award but now specializes in forgettable pulp that barely makes a blip in theaters or goes straight to home video.
“Arsenal” is garbage. The cast includes familiar faces such as Cage, Adrian Grenier (“Entourage”) and John Cusack, and given the fact director Steven C. Miller shot the entire thing in 14 days it’s a relatively slick and well-edited film — but it’s still a trashy, blood-spattered, sadistic thriller with a goes-nowhere plot, overwrought dialogue and a throbbing soundtrack that’ll leave your ears ringing.
Grenier is JP, a law-abiding construction boss with a loving wife (Lydia Hull), a newborn baby and a great reputation as the town good guy who creates jobs.
On the other hand, JP’s older brother Mikey (Johnathon Schaech, in the film’s best performance) is a complete disaster of a human being: dishonorably discharged from the Marines, incapable of holding down a job, calling his ex-wife a “whore” while his teenage daughter texts away and ignores him, borrowing money from his brother and then using it to buy coke, getting into fights on a regular basis.
But hey, a brother’s a brother, and Mikey always looked out for JP when they were kids, so JP will do anything for his big bro — including launching his own investigation when Mikey has been kidnapped and held for ransom.
Just about everyone in town figures Mikey teamed up with crime boss Eddie to stage the kidnapping. As JP scrambles to raise the ransom money and figure out who the kidnappers are, he enlists the help of a cop buddy (Cusack) and we learn the truth, which is more complicated and bloodier and more ludicrous and more meandering than you will ever know, because you really don’t need to see this thing.
Lionsgate Premiere presents a film directed by Steven C. Miller and written by Jason Mosberg. Rated R (for brutal bloody violence, language throughout, and drug use). Running time: 92 minutes. Opens Friday at AMC Woodridge and on demand.