Extra Cinema: Stolen (12A)

Gotcha: Will (Cage) is caught by the bobbies.
Gotcha: Will (Cage) is caught by the bobbies.

Director: David Guggenheim.

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Malin Akerman, Josh Lucas, Danny Huston and Sami Gayle.

Running time: 1hr 36mins.

HAS Nicolas Cage become the go-to man for films that jump on the bandwagon?

No, but any more films like this and he could earn that epithet.

National Treasure was an enjoyable flick, but it was a bit like Da Vinci Code lite, though the second sequel has just been announced.

Stolen is a bit too close to the far superior Taken for comfort.

But Cage is a good actor (after Wild at Heart, he can do no wrong in my eyes).

Cage plays Will Montgomery, the best bank robber in the business and a constant thorn in the side of copper Tim Harlend (Huston).

He is also a devoted father to daughter Alison (Gayle), even to the point of chatting to her on the phone as he waits to pull off a heist.

When they get around to carrying out the biggest bank job of their careers, Will and his team hit a snag: a witness sees them and, while one of the less-well balanced of the gang wants to shoot him, Will puts a stop to him by shooting his partner, Vincent (Lucas), in the leg.

Also, the police have been monitoring the situation all along and are ready to pounce.

After the obligatory car chase and thousands of dollars-worth of damage to municipal and private property, Will is finally caught — but without the money.

After eight, long years in prison, Will is finally released into the waiting arms of his old adversary, Harlend, who wants to know where the lag has stashed the cash.

After a less than happy reunion with his daughter, Will heads off to see his female former sidekick, Riley (Akerman), while Alison hails a taxi to see her shrink.

Seems like no one is convinced with his story that he burned the loot before being nabbed.

One of those less convinced of the fate of the millions is his old partner Vincent, who, as the result of Will’s shooting has left him bitter, psychotic... And minus one leg.

Vincent, working as a cab driver, kidnaps Alison, drugs her and puts her in the boot of his cab.

He sends Will a mobile phone, which he then calls threatening to kill the girl if Will doesn’t pony up the dough.

He also tells the ex-con that he has 12 hours to get the cash and he is tracking Will’s phone to ensure he doesn’t stray from the job at hand.

Will hides the phone on a train going to the city he told Vincent the money was hid, so this buys him some time to track down his old mate, and save his kid.

The film is executed at a frantic pace with little time to catch breath.

The same can be said for Taken (1 and 2), but maybe the similarities are just superficial.

Certainly my initial premise is rather harsh on Mr Cage, who has made some outstanding flicks in the past: Kick-Ass, Raising Arizona, Season of the Witch, Drive Angry and Knowing spring to mind.

A bit of a pity, therefore, that he may never be recognised by the Academy for his efforts.

Rating: 3/5