Cage Match

Quality was not what they were going for in this film about two white guys in China.

Outcast
70

Outcast

Release year: 2015 Posted March 16, 2015

“Marion, don’t look at it. Shut your eyes, Marion. Don’t look at it, no matter what happens!”

Indiana Jones

Hayden Christensen is not so much an actor as he is a byproduct of George Lucas’s enormous wealth, and its tendency to ruin things. Unfortunately, it is Christensen who stars alongside Cage in Outcast. As you probably guessed, this movie is not good.

Cast as an opiate-addicted, war-weary Crusader loose in China, Christensen is endlessly boring. He becomes involved in a plot to restore the throne to its rightful heirs for reasons that are never completely made clear. At the point where his quest turns into escorting the heirs, two hapless tweens, back to their palace, the film becomes a clone of Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, except mercifully shorter. Nicolas Cage plays the Boromir-style warrior character.

The plots of Outcast and The Fellowship of the Ring resemble each other so closely, it verges on intellectual property infringement. Take for instance Boromir’s death in Fellowship, and compare it to Nic’s in Outcast. The whole movie is a textbook example of derivative filmmaking. Seventy minutes in, Cage Match’s director of training admitted she was unable to discern this film from an SNL Digital Short.

But none of this is surprising. Outcast was basically generated by a series of money-making algorithms. It was made to be a generic Western-style film marketed primarily for Chinese audiences. According to Hollywood Reporter, Outcast was “a Canada–France–China co-production. It was made in English but qualified as an official co-production under the guidelines stipulated by the [Chinese] State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, with Yunnan Film Group providing more than half of the undisclosed budget.” In short, nobody involved in this movie was trying to make something good, they were trying to make something profitable. And even by those standards, Outcast is a total failure. It was originally set for release in China in 2014, but Chinese government censors blocked it for reasons that have also not been explained.

Was Nicolas Cage good in Outcast? No, but he was entertaining. It gets harder to forgive Nic each time he’s the most entertaining part of an otherwise aggressively nonentertaining movie. Given his established record of talented performances, we may have to start holding Cage’s taste in roles against him, especially in movies as obviously low-rent as this. Since his financial woes seem like ancient history, I can't imagine this was done for fast cash. Housing markets have recovered. He’s bankable and still working. According to Variety, Cage has several major projects coming up. Hopefully, Outcast is the last in Cage’s blue period.

Movie?
Bad
Nic Cage’s acting?
Entertaining, not good
Did his performance make the movie worse?
No, capitalism did