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“Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans” {Blu-ray}
Wayne Klein
Studio: First Look Pictures
Release Date:
Special Features:

Featurette, two trailers, Digital Photo Book with photos by Lena Herzog, previews


How bad is this lieutenant? Really, really bad and with Nic Cage playing him you know that it will be an entertaining ride if nothing else. Add in director Werner Herzog behind the camera in this semi-sequel/semi-remake of Abel Ferrara’s “Bad Lieutenant” and you’ll find yourself on a rip-roaring ride straight out of a drug induced Disney ride like “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans”. This is clearly one that Cage made for the fun of it and because he KNEW it would be unusual not to pay the bills. ***

Terence McDonagh (Cage)buries himself in the scum of the earth protecting all of the good folks of New Orleans and tolerates it along with his chronic back pain from an on the job injury by dipping deeply into the pool of drugs he occasionally scoops up on busts. He also helps himself to any drugs in the evidence room courtesy of friends, has a regular thing going with a high class prostitute named Frankie--a character named after one of the actresses from the original "Bad Lieutenant" as a homage- (Eva Mendes) and has sex with a random woman he busts for her stash all the while making her boyfriend watch. If he's a good guy it brings new definition to the word "good". He also has to avoid getting caught by his partner Pruit (Val Kilmer)and his friends at work. He’s also working a case that would drive most people to take drugs—trying to solve a multiple homicide where children were murdered and his only ace in the hole is a kid who witnessed the whole event. Oh, and he’s in debt up to his eyeballs to a bookie (Brad Dourif)and pissing off the wrong people. He’s also being squeezed by other nasty folks and that’s making him, well, a bit JUMPY. ***

I’ve had my doubts about Cage over the years. He can be a brilliant performer but he isn’t exactly a leading man by any stretch of the imagination. Yet he has managed to pull it off through sheer talent, quirky personality and a willingness to make a fool of himself. He’s brilliant in “Bad” and that’s good. Herzog matches Cage for quirkiness including using a handheld camera for bizarre hallucinogenic close ups of iguanas, gators and other critters that would be used as little more than background color by other directors. Did the original “Bad Lieutenant” need a sequel/remake? No but I don’t really consider this to be either one of those. This is really an examination of many of the same themes by a very different director. Cage equals the star of the OTHER “Bad Lieutenant” Harvey Keitel without aping, imitating or riffing on Keitel’s performance of the role in the original film. ---

Image & Sound:

A mixed up variety of shooting styles that touch on noir and colorful, glittery classic Hollywood films, “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans” looks quite nice although the contrast between the handheld digital shots and the use of film in other sequences is quite noticeable and can be distracting once you get used to it, it fits the “feel” of the film. ***

We have a marvelous 5.1 lossless audio track that has plenty of “atmosphere” nicely capturing the “feel” of New Orleans. ---

Special Features:

Unfortunately we don’t get a commentary track from director Herzog nor Cage. Both of them would be very entertaining and not having either of them to give us a blow-by-blow is a pity. *** The only extras we get is a standard making-of featurette, a digital photography book and two trailers.

Final Words:

“The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans” would probably have been nominated for several Academy Awards if it were a more conventional film. Herzog doesn’t make conventional and that’s good for Cage. Both are brilliant (and kudos to Herzog’s DP Peter Zeitlinger for his marvelous, unusual photography)and this imaginative, outrageous flick is well worth checking out.


Copyright @ Teakwood Productions 2000
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