“Shit happens, Gary. Crying don’t do nothing about it.” – God, Army of One (2016).
Nicolas Cage’s career at this point is completely fucked. Let’s make that very clear. Don’t get me wrong, he is a genuinely great actor and to be quite honest I would love for him to have a comeback, but not if he’s going to make shit like this. From making sequels to old generation Marvel movies to quite simply ripping off classic films, is there anything Nicolas Cage hasn’t done? Well, he hasn’t done a biopic just yet. Until now.
Five minutes into this film and I’d already had my fill of Nicolas Cage “antics”. I saw the man hang glide across a country border and then it’s revealed to be a fever dream or something. I don’t know what was going on. Usually it’s easy to provide words to a Nicolas Cage performance but the words I will use today are “fucking” and “insane”. I swear to God there are bits of this film I believe I have blocked from my memory for good. At this point I don’t know if Nicolas Cage is a genuinely bad actor or is in fact taking the piss out of how bad this film is.
Cage wears some sort of obviously fake grey wig throughout this and it is the funniest thing I have ever seen. Not only that, but he carries a sword for the final third of the film. He has a sword fight with Bin Laden in a dream. Don’t get me started on the accent either which is quite possibly the funniest accent I have ever heard in all of film. It’s a mix between Adam Sandler’s voice in Little Nicky (2000) and Cage’s prominently and truly beautiful performance in The Wicker Man (2006). Somehow, it honestly works in that so bad it’s truly marvellous way and to be fair I wish it hadn’t.
You know, seeing Russell Brand play God is genuinely quite disorienting. I’m used to seeing great and acclaimed actors such as Morgan Freeman playing the almighty big man. Forgive me for thinking that the star of Get Him to the Greek (2010) was an odd choice for the role. I’ll be quite honest, he’s not in the film for more than a few brief scenes and he is actually bearable. Bearable is not the same as good however, those are two very different ideas.
I know this is a genuinely bad film, but it does, in a way, bring out some other meanings. Throughout the film it regards patriotism as a blind faith and to be quite honest it is a very interesting plot point. Seeing Gary determined to fight and serve his country in his own unique way is honestly fantastic. Somehow it manages to capture this weird zeitgeist of the current wave of American patriotism. My guess however is that this was a complete accident. Although it adds another layer to the film, it shouldn’t be applauded as it was simply an accident.
As expected, director Larry Charles brings nothing new to the table in regard to his direction or cinematography. To be fair, that’s a genuine shame because the past few comedy movies he’s directed (Borat, The Dictator) have been quite good. He’s definitely one of the most unique in regard to comedy films. To say he is the Martin Scorsese of comedy would not only be an ill sounding comment but also blatantly wrong. Either way, I was expecting something better. Do you think in a way he knew this film was going to be bad? Nicolas Cage’s name has, unfortunately, become a mark on any film available. When was the last time you saw a Cage film with quality?
Maybe I should just list off a couple of things that happen within this film. Nicolas Cage tries to sail to the middle east, but ends up passing out and landing in Mexico. A romance subplot is added for literally no reason and revolves around Osama Bin Laden. Rainn Wilson shows up as an FBI agent for all of five minutes. Cage makes it to Israel, then goes home. He returns about ten minutes later. Now, there are films that are so bad they are good. But at the same time there are those films that are so bad you can’t describe them. I’m not sure whether or not I loved how bad this film was or if I was genuinely just confused. My verdict overall is that it is a genuinely horrible film.
But you knew that this was a bad film now didn’t you? From the acting of Nicolas Cage to the inclusion of Russell Brand, this film is a joke. It’s not a funny joke, as many people would have you believe. There is not one redeeming quality of this film. Believe me when I say that there is not one bit of direction or cinematography throughout. I don’t kid when I say that I thought it was genuinely impossible to make a film without anything interesting to say in a review, yet here we are.
Actually I lie, there is one bit of memorable cinematography in it just because, as a vision, it didn’t work at all. Aside from Larry Charles being quite a weird guy, he has one bit of unique direction in the introduction of God. It’s when Gary is in his kidney treatment chair or whatever that is, but then God just appears. Honestly, it’s never explained whether or not Gary is having these conversations in his head or he’s just yelling out at strangers. Personally, I beg that it’s the second option, just because it’d be genuinely hilarious.
What may surprise you is that this is in fact a biopic. Gary Faulkner is a real man, and his quest to find and kill Osama Bin Laden is very real indeed. I’m honestly surprised to say that this is one of the more accurate biopics out there. Don’t take that as a recommendation though, this film is genuine garbage. From Nicolas Cage’s obviously fake wig to the truly hilarious dialogue, it’s a horrifically bad film. Honestly, this film leaves a lot more questions than it provides answers. Not in regard to its material, but because of its performances.
Something like this is genuinely difficult to review because of how bad it is. What can I do apart from crack jokes? There’s nothing I can analyse, no detailed performances or meaning to the film. It is a literal husk of nothing. Nicolas Cage has finally lost the will to live, I can guarantee that when he’s making shit like this. But then again, what’s Rainn Wilson’s excuse for appearing in this?