By the numbers action thriller that relies on gratuitous violence and a ridiculous performance from Nicholas Cage.
Southern Fury, also known as Arsenal in the US, is a film that truly marks Nicholas Cage’s descent into mediocrity. He has played roles in a number of films recently that have been critically panned and bombed at the box office, and it seems his career is heading in a downward spiral.
Southern Fury tells the story of two brothers who, through various life choices, have ended up on completely different paths. JP, played by Entourage alumni, Adrian Grenier is an owner of a construction company and has a settled life with his family. His older brother Mikey, however, has become a mobster having been dishonourably discharged from the military. Mikey ends up on the wrong side of crime boss Eddie King, and JP must make the choice between paying the ransom or potentially losing his brother.
Cage’s performance as Eddie King is eccentric to say the least. With the 80’s looking wig and the moustache, his overacting and at times scenery chewing really puts a dampener on the film. As a crime boss this man should exude terror, but really comes across more as a clown as opposed to a genuine threat towards the brothers.
The film really leaves a sour taste in your mouth during its action scenes. The gratuitous violence and slow motion shots as people are left bleeding to death or beaten up by whatever instrument the villain can get his hands on seems too much and detracts from the rest of the storyline. The line between exciting action thriller and gratuitous violence is a thin one and this film doesn’t shy away from its violence, rather it seems to glorify it.
The plot is generic and doesn’t do anything ground-breaking or shocking. The film plods along and telegraphs the ending far in advance. It’s a bog-standard action thriller and really adds to the pile of straight to DVD-esque films starring Nicholas Cage. How has an actor who gained such plaudits for films such as Face/Off resorted to this?
The basic plot of the film is one that we’ve seen countless times before and has been done much better. The film is directed by Steven C. Miller, who’s back catalogue seems to be full of these sorts of films. Whether this film will take anything substantial at the UK box office remains to be seen, but these sorts of films tend to die a death and end up in a bargain bin somewhere, and that is where this film belongs.
Southern Fury (2017), directed by Steven C. Miller, is distributed by Signature Entertainment. Certificate 18.