17th Nov2021

‘Prisoners of the Ghostland’ Blu-ray Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Nicolas Cage, Bill Moseley, Sofia Boutell, Nick Cassavetes, Tak Sakaguchi, Young Dais, Charles Glover, Tetsu Watanabe | Written by Aaron Hendry, Reza Sixo Safai | Directed by Sion Sono

I love Nicholas Cage movies, the crazier the better. Sometimes though some movies feel like they just weren’t made for him. Prisoners of the Ghostland is a film that holds so much promise but in the end feels like other movies have done the same thing, just way better.

When the Governor (Bill Moseley) sends out notorious criminal Hero (Nicolas Cage) to find his Bernice (Sofia Boutella), Hero believes this could be his chance to redeem himself for his past. Strapped into a suit that will blow him up if he doesn’t succeed in his task, he is fighting time to find the girl and hopefully save himself.

The start of Prisoners of the Ghostland shows a lot of promise, there is plenty of style to the movie, and there is a feel like this could be a Mad Max or even Escape from New York type film. As it goes on though it is hard to shake the feeling that Nicholas Cage is just not fitting in with what the film needs of him.

I will state now, I am a huge Nicholas Cage fan and love him at his craziest. Some films also exist on the “so bad they are good” style, but with Prisoners of the Ghostland you can really say this because there are so many good elements to the film itself. What holds this film back is the feel that it is trying to be the aforementioned Mad Max, Escape from New York; hell, even Army of Darkness; and it never reaches that full potential.

What does work for Cage’s character is that he is given an interesting back story that shows he does have morals, and he does fit the “Hero” name that he was given. What doesn’t help in a way is that we have that fact drilled into us again and again as he continually passes out and has flashbacks to the event that led to his capture. When you start to feel that Hero passes out way too much, then that is a sign that they are over playing it just slightly.

On the positive side of the movie I will say that Bill Moseley and Sofia Boutella play their parts well, as do many other of the cast. Moseley knows how to play the bad guy, and he plays him well. His story may be a little thin, but we get the idea that his obsession on retrieving Bernice is a bad sign, and we are given the idea that maybe Hero shouldn’t return her, which I guess is a job well done.

It is fair to say that Prisoners of the Ghostland is an entertaining movie that is very stylish and holds a lot of promise from the start. The problem for me is that it’s a little style over story at times, and it does feel that it wants to be much better movies. When Cage is “peak Cage” you are often in for a fun time.

What this movie provides though is a story that feels like it fit a different actor, where disappointingly Cage just can’t deliver. For fans though, it’s still worth watching because as we know, especially with Nicholas Cage, never rule out the fact that what doesn’t work for some of his fans will be cherished by others.

*** 3/5

Prisoners of the Ghostland is available on DVD and Blu-ray now. The films also comes to Shudder on November 19th.
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Review originally posted on PissedOffGeek.

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