Everyone’s favourite Nicolas Cage (The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent) is back playing another enigmatic oddball. However, the role doesn’t play towards the actors usual blend of ticks and outbursts but rather, and unintentionally so, reflects the movie he’s starring in.
Cage plays a retired assassin, Matt, who has embraced “beach bum life” but finds himself out of sorts when he’s pulled back into the dangerous world he once knew so well. Especially since this latest mission concerns his daughter Ashley (Ashley Greene Khoury), his missing granddaughter Sarah (Thalia Campbell), and a flash drive with compromising information that unhinged, profanity-obsessed villains want to get their hands on.
Matt hasn’t lost his knack for killing, resulting in some inspired fatalities, but he hasn’t settled on a post-career personality. Cage channels and cycles through several different vocal inflections and slick attitudes which subtly hints at the actor’s versatility, but the inconsistency makes Matt a frustrating character to stay interested in. If it wasn’t for Cage’s ungainly appearance, The Retirement Plan may have been one of Cage’s weakest roles yet.
The film itself suffers from an identity crisis. Writer/director Tim Brown alternates wildly between action and comedy but refuses to root the movie in either genre. Even the best action-comedies plant their feet in a solid foundation. Without it, neither genre thoroughly works and leaves the audience feeling like the filmmaking efforts are halfhearted. The only consistent element to The Retirement Plan is how the movie photographs the Cayman Islands. Despite how violent the movie is and how high the body count rises, Brown presents his film like a bright travelogue with luscious beaches and clean-cut resorts. When a henchman falls from a patio, cracks open his head, and dies in a puddle of his own blood, I couldn’t help but notice how the palm trees “popped”. This tonal disconnect never stops being jarring. I’m not one to run with wishy-washy theories, but I feel the producers’ “multi-picture deal with the Cayman Islands local authorities” weighed heavily on this representation which also serves as “the third film produced under a three-picture production deal”.
The Retirement Plan is a sun-kissed, star-powered lark that would disappoint even the most forgiving Cage completists.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie