Nicolas Cage is no stranger to crazy movies that become instant cult classics. From Raising Arizona and Leaving Las Vegas on one side of that spectrum to Between Worlds and Jiu Jitsu on the other side, Cage is loved by so many film buffs for the way he embraces the wild and weird. But somehow, through his recent obsession with recycled characters and bad scripts, Cage always delivers.
Enter Prisoners of the Ghostland. The trailer for this under-the-radar film released earlier this week and many fans just don’t know what to make of it. There’s traditional Japanese martial arts battles, a fake southern accent worse than Cage’s in ConAir, gunslinger cowboys, and a post-apocalyptic landscape that puts Fury Road to shame.
The trailer shows Cage as a mercenary criminal named Hero (yes, really) who is tasked with the job of saving the granddaughter of a wealthy political tycoon named The Governor. How do we know he’s a wealthy political tycoon? Why, he dresses and sounds like a mix of Colonel Sanders and Boss Hogg, of course. I declare!
But the fact that The Governor is played by cult horror vet Bill Moseley helps us overlook this tiny detail and get into what we can expect from this film.
Hero is given a leather suit strapped with explosives that will detonate if he doesn’t save the young woman in 3 days. His reward is freedom but his own personal redemption comes along for the ride.
If you’ve made it through the first half of this seemingly innocuous trailer, you’ll be rewarded with what looks like a truly fantastic film as the frontier city of Samurai Town is revealed. This supernatural landscape is straight out of a dream and features some of the best post-apocalyptic imagery I’ve seen in years. In fact, Nic Cage himself has even called the movie “the wildest movie I’ve ever made.” Now that’s a recommendation!
As one YouTube commenter puts it, “This isn’t a movie. Someone put a camera inside Nic Cage’s mind and this is what happened…”
While Nic Cage has certainly not fizzled in his later career, it can be argued that he’s certainly found his niche. With recent ventures like Willy’s Wonderland and the upcoming untitled Joe Exotic/Tiger King series, Cage shows that he’s the Baron of the Bizarre, the Prince of the Preposterous, and the Lord of Left Field. But that’s why we love him!
Prisoners of the Ghostland is directed by famed Japanese filmmaker Sion Sono and also stars Sofia Boutella, Nick Cassavetes, Ed Skrein, Bill Moseley, Yuzuka Nakaya, and Tak Sakaguchi.
While the film made its debut at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, it won’t be released in theaters and video on demand until September 17th.