Nicolas Cage Revenge Thriller Gives Taken A New Spin

By Robert Scucci | Published

There’s nothing quite like a Nicolas Cage revenge plot, and 2014’s Rage (titled Tokarev overseas) is one of those films that will leave you awestruck and dumbfounded by how quickly the Dream Scenario star can hit his boiling point in the appropriate context. Though Rage starts out like a carbon-copy of Liam Neeson’s Taken, it takes a hard turn because we’re not talking about a search and rescue mission, but rather a story about a father avenging the violent death of his daughter by any means necessary.

Cage Rage

Nicolas Cage Rage

If you’ve been following the “Cage rage” memes over the years, you’ll surely want to tune in and bear witness to one of his finest examples of over-the-top yet thematically appropriate anger in this violent crime thriller. 

It’s clear that Nicolas Cage wanted to channel his own inner Liam Neeson with Rage, but his Paul Maguire character is a far cry from Bryan Mills. While the Taken franchise primarily focuses on a retired CIA operative who will stop at nothing to rescue his daughter from Albanian smugglers, Cage’s Paul Maguire is a former member of the Irish Mob who now has the resources to open a legitimate construction business after ambushing a Russian Mobster 20 years prior. Paul’s past eventually catches up with him, and he’s forced to return to his old ways and systematically hunt down and kill those who he believes are responsible for his daughter’s death. 

Time For Vengeance

Nicolas Cage Rage

The plot for Nicolas Cage’s Rage is set in motion when Paul is approached by the police while attending a dinner with his wife, Vanessa (Rachel Nichols). Though Paul is used to this kind of treatment from authorities because of his past criminal activities, the officers tell him that they’re actually looking for his daughter, Caitlin, who has gone missing. Paul is devastated when Caitlin’s dead body is discovered, and he immediately decides to take matters into his own hands and figure out who carried out the violent act against his family. 

The Quest Begins

Nicolas Cage’s portrayal of a man who has nothing to lose steals the show in Rage because he becomes increasingly paranoid as his rampage progresses. He turns to his former mob associates, Kane (Max Ryan) and Danny (Michael McGrady), for questioning because he has reason to believe that they may have accidentally talked about their past criminal activities. In his mind, their carelessness reignited the decades-old war between the Russian and Irish mobs, putting his family in jeopardy. 

Rage Is No Taken

Nicolas Cage Rage

In the classic Nicolas Cage fashion, his rage manifests in the form of Paul’s “kill first and ask questions never” attitude, which ultimately proves to be a form of vigilante justice that only complicates matters. Though Paul clearly has his very own particular set of skills, he lacks the impulse control and foresight that Liam Neeson so expertly delivers throughout the Taken franchise.

So Bad It’s Good

Of all the Nicolas Cage movies that were released straight-to-video, Rage received a considerable amount of criticism for being an extremely derivative thriller. But despite its abysmal 12 percent critical score and 28 percent audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, critics and audiences alike overwhelmingly agree that Rage falls into “so bad it’s good” territory. Like many other films that Cage starred in at this point in his career, an otherwise derivative screenplay is elevated by his over-the-top performance.

At the end of the day, Rage is a by-the-numbers action thriller, but not without a solid third-act reveal that will give it staying power. If you find yourself craving some top-form Nicolas Cage overacting, then you can go out with both guns blazing by streaming Rage on Tubi.