With the recent news that Nicolas Cage will start filming Matthew Vaughn’s adaptation of Kick-Ass this fall, America’s strangest movie star steps up his assault on the endurance of the moviegoing public. Once a critical darling (can you even remember Moonstruck at this point?) and an Oscar winner (or even Leaving Las Vegas?), then a three-for-them-one-for-me A-lister who managed to squeeze in the occasional Adaptation amid the Bruckheimer noise-fests, Cage has lately become the least selective topliner this side of Brendan Fraser, with an output as prolific (Lord of War, Next, Ghost Rider, National Treasure 2) as his performances are increasingly lazy and bizarre. As Cage prepares to excrete his latest instantly disposable action vehicle, Bangkok Dangerous, on Friday, the question becomes this: How much more abuse are we going to take?
Pretty much all you need to know about Bangkok Dangerous can be seen in this priceless clip (which is most certainly not safe for the squeamish). Meanwhile, there's the trailer for the March 2009 prophecy thriller Knowing, which suggests that Cage feels that one Da Vinci Code knockoff franchise isn’t enough for him. And that’s before we even get into his John Carpenter prison-riot movie, or his currently filming Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, a Werner Herzog–helmed remake/sequel/something-or-other to Abel Ferrara’s cult non-classic and easily the title to beat for Batshit Craziest Flick of the Decade.
So could 2009 be the year we finally wash our hands of action hero Nicolas Cage? Not only would an unbroken series of flops be an appropriate punishment for such a consistent stream of mediocrity, but a fall from the A-list could push Cage back to the quirky, offbeat projects that made us like him in the first place. Still, one should never underestimate a career that could survive The Wicker Man, so our bet is Nicolas Cage will continue lending his inexplicable bankability to crappy action thrillers for years to come.