It's 4.00 am in New Orleans and F.B.I. Agent Tim Harlend (Danny Huston) has assembled his men around this diamond exchange in preparation for the heist they're expecting any minute now. His second in command begins wondering aloud whether anything is going to happen at all, but then they hear the strains of Credence Clearwater Revival over their transmitter and know this is the sign master criminal Will Montgomery (Nicolas Cage) is about to spring into action. Almost: first he takes a call from his young daughter at home; after that the time has come to stage the robbery...
But the cops are overconfident, because Montgomery is more cunning than they suspected, in this, Cage's first film with director Simon West since the hit Con Air back in the mid-nineties. Anyone hoping for a scene with a soft toy would not be disappointed, but it wasn't nearly as campy as the one in their previous collaboration, which was one reason Stolen wasn't quite the reunion action fans might have hoped for. Certainly there were plenty of sequences where a car chase broke out, or Will powered down a street as fast as his legs could carry him, but there was something perfunctory about the whole affair.
When this was announced, potential audiences didn't think, excellent, finally a movie about that yummy Christmas treat, they thought, hmm... Stolen sounds a lot like Taken, that Liam Neeson career reviver, so could it be Cage was hoping to do the same? As if the Cagemeister needed any such fillip! His career was burbling along much as it had for the previous couple of decades, not showing any sign of slowing down, and with an army of fans who followed his works loyally, whether it was ironically or not, they enjoyed the sort of nuts and bolts thrillers and the like which he churned out with seemingly ceaseless regularity.
Of course, many of those adherents were keen to see if their hero go, shall we say, a little crazy, or at least get into a pleasingly nutty situation, in which instance they may be a little let down by Stolen because with a few minor variations it proceeded much as you would have expected. The opening heist goes wrong and Montgomery ends up in jail for eight years, with the police still wondering where he hid the money, all ten million dollars of it, but Montgomery's accomplices got away, including the one he shot in the leg to prevent him murdering a witness, the livewire Vincent (Josh Brolin, resembling an evil version of comedian Tim Vine). He is the one who opts to pressure his old buddy into revealing the location of the cash.
He does this by kidnapping Will's daughter Alison (Sami Gayle), now a teenager and thankfully not as useless as another movie where the lead's daughter is kidnapped, naming no names. OK, it is a bit like Taken, but Cage here was stressing the humanity of his character rather than being the badass mowing down or beating up the bad guys, and besides there's really only one bad guy here, and that's Vincent, with Lucas offering us his best Long John Silver impersonation since he's playing it with one leg missing. For some reason New Orleans showed up as a popular desitination for action flick stars, especially if there's a carnival atmosphere for the hero to barge his way through, and this was no exception, wth a lot of emphasis on taxi drivers, Vincent posing as one - Alison's trapped in the back, though makes a decent show of trying to escape. Naturally, she still has to be saved by dear old dad to prove his worth as a father, and he gets to pair off with Malin Akerman for his trouble. Bizarrely, West employed the eighties slasher movie ending; otherwise, much of a muchness. Music by Mark Isham.