Southern Fury – REVIEW

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......despite his deep undercover disguise he still looked an idiot.......

Just when you think he’s back to normal Nicolas Cage wrong foots you with this his latest bonkers barmy, watch out he’s mad, baton down the hatches he’s really lost it this time performance as a bewigged, big nosed villain Eddie King looking like the malevolent and even more obnoxious twin brother of comedian Andy Kaufmann’s alter ego lounge lizard Tony Clifton. Cage plays the villainous Eddie, a big time small town thug where young brothers Mikey and JP have known him since they were boys who witnessed him brutalize a man to death.

Fast forward 10 years where Cage seems not to have aged but the boys are now grown up . JP (Adrian Grenier) is the owner of a construction business where as his brother Mikey (Jonathan Schaeh) is divorced, a hard drinking and generally volatile and shambolic figure who having borrowed money from JP to buy a stack of drugs to make some money finds it stolen from him.  Things only get worse for Mikey when Eddie kidnaps him wanting JP to pay a huge ransom for his return. JP has other ideas and with the help of retired cop John Cusack, fights back to rescue his brother.

Directed by Steven C Miller this is a run of the mill workman like thriller distinguished only with its propensity for extreme violence which he chooses to film in slo-mo.  So the violent beating that Eddie administers are so lovingly filmed as to be slightly sickening with ludicrous amounts of blood spraying from wounds and spat from mouths with each heavy punch all to a throbbing lo-fi soundtrack. With a script that pays a cursory nod to its subplot where JP’s niece and her druggie boy friend trying to get her hooked and credibility strained to the max when Cusack arranges a meeting with an undercover cop in plain view of all and sundry in various open spaces this is hardly ground breaking stuff. It might have helped if the two stars had had at least one scene together but disappointingly they never do. In the US this was originally titled ‘Arsenal’ presumably because it’s got a right bunch of goons(ers) in it but a necessary change of title for the UK doesn’t change things unfortunately.

Based in the Deep South this is all sweaty men and grimy bars with a load of hand held shots with Cage doing his even more unhinged schtick. It’s the sort of film you expect from Cage these days with his Oscar win  & films like Con Air, Face Off and The Rock a distant memory and his appearance here owes more to a Vic Reeves/Tony Clifton hybrid that wouldn’t look out of place in the Beastie Boys Sabotage video (see below). Cusack on the other hand you expect better of.

Here’s the trailer……

perhaps Nic Cage should have been in this…..

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