MOVIE REVIEW | The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009)

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“What are these fuckin’ iguanas doing on my coffee table?”

This movie is a stinker. I’m really struggling to think of much else to say about it. At this stage, it’s getting harder and harder to remember the good Nicolas Cage performances. For a while there, he seemed to be mixing it up, a couple of crazy nut job ham fests like Ghostrider or The Wicker Man, then he’d give us something decent like Matchstick Men or Lord of War. But it seems like a few years ago, we lost the good Nicolas Cage completely, and his announcement of being a full time shit bomb maker, was The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans.


As far as bad lieutenants go, Nicolas Cage’s Terence McDonagh is pretty bad. He smokes crack, he works for and with drug dealers, he threatens to kill a little old lady and pimps out his girlfriend. But the biggest crime he commits is wasting the time of anyone unlucky enough to watch this piece of crap.

I’m sure there’s a story and plot, the movie just never gave me a single reason to pay any attention to it. Eva Mendes is crazy hot as Cage’s hooker missus, Frankie. Val Kilmer is kind of fun as his partner Steve, and as long as someone is giving Werner Herzog money and resources to make movies, it’s a good ting. I just hope Port of Call New Orleans was him getting something out of his system that we never have to see again.

As well as having no idea what story this movie was trying to tell, I also have no idea what the connection is between this and Abel Ferrara’s 1992 Bad Lieutenant, starring Harvey Keitel. It’s not a remake, it’s not a sequel. From what I can tell, the only connection is that it’s about a crooked cop who has the rank of lieutenant.

In the 1992 film, Keitel is depraved, depressed and amazingly compelling. It’s a disturbing movie that is kind of hard to watch, but at the same time, impossible to turn off. I hated his character, but I really wanted to see where the story took him. With Cage’s version of a bad lieutenant, I just didn’t care about him in any way. Worse than that, I didn’t even care about the innocents he hurts or a single person in this movie.

I think a ‘making of’ of this movie would be way more entertaining than the movie itself. And I don’t mean behind the scenes type stuff on the set. I mean seeing how some producer, or Herzog, or whoever it was, convinced a studio to spend money on making it. Because that has to be an amazing story.

The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
Directed By – Werner Herzog
Written By – William M Finklestein

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