Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

My only real question to the creators of this movie ‘The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans’ would be why in the world did they decide to use ‘The Bad Lieutenant’ as a launching point for this flick. I wasn’t a huge fan of Abel Ferrara’s original film but it was a unique film watching experience. So was this film, directed by Werner Herzong, for that matter but they ain’t got jack to do with each other. They could’ve called this movie anything. Gave it a brand new title like ‘Kooky Kops’ or something. Besides this was almost a pure comedy. This was ‘The Bad Lieutenant’ done by Zucker, Abrams and Zucker.

Nicholas Cage is Terence the Bad Lieutenant, though he’s just a slightly bad sergeant when we first meet him. Terence, along with his partner his partner Steve (Val Kilmer) are doing something or another in Katrina doused New Orleans when Terence sees a cat still in lockup, waters rising around his nose and in an act of selfless heroism jumps in the muck to save the guy. The bad thing about that is Terence screwed his back up pretty bad in the process which will mate him to a life of Vicodin and other drugs that doctors generally don’t prescribe. The good thing is that this selfless act gets Terence promoted to the rank of lieutenant.

Terence really isn’t all that bad of lieutenant right now either, and he is trusted to the point that his captain (Vondie Curtis Hall) has assigned him to the slaughter of a Senegalese family, the patriarch who was apparently dealing heroin in forbidden territory. Terence really does want to solve this case, he just has other things going on in the periphery which distract him. These things would include taking good care of his drug addicted prostitute girlfriend Frankie (Eva Mendes), rousting club kids for their drugs and molesting the girls in exchange for keeping them out of jail, making ill advised sports wagers with his bookie (Brad Dourif), stealing drugs out the impound locker, looking after his drunken father’s dog and all kinds distracting things which keep my man from completely focusing in on his job

As tends to happen with people who do a large number of things they probably shouldn’t be doing, these things start to pile up and become unmanageable. Now our lieutenant is indeed a pretty bad lieutenant, even going so far as too align himself with the very person he’s investigating for the murder of the case he’s working on (Alvin ‘Xhibit’ Joiner). So with the mob, vicious drug dealers, the FBI, state senators, bookies and everybody else with a gun on his ass looking to silence that ass, it’s looking there’s no way out for this Bad Lieutenant. At least that’s the way it looks.

I have been informed that this movie ‘The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans’ is fairly typical for a film directed by German auteur Werner Herzog. The only other film by Mr. Herzog that I had seen was the documentary ‘Grizzly Man’ so one probably can’t get a good feel for the director’s style watching a movie like that one. So what do you get with this ‘Bad Lieutenant’ movie, a film that had the original director so upset that he wished the people behind this movie, and we quote, ‘…wish these people die in Hell. I hope they’re in the same streetcar and it blows up’. Ferrara made these quotes before actually seeing this movie though I would guess if he took the time to view the finished product his new quotes would be even worse. We should mention that that was a director who remade ‘Body Snatchers’ and I don’t remember the great Don Siegel wishing him a painful death. Yeah Mr. Siegel was dead by the time that movie came out but you what I mean.

Anyway, what you’re gonna get with this flick is a crazy ride down madness highway with Nicholas Cage. If I’m not mistaken I think he’s in every single scene in this movie, so this is completely Nick Cage’s film, and if you don’t like Cage and you don’t like his crazy act then sitting though this movie would be equivalent of having a wisdom tooth removed while at the same going through a prostate exam. Nick lets it all hang out in this one.

Personally, while I can’t say that I actually enjoyed this version of ‘The Bad Lieutenant’ mainly because it was just a little too out there for my tastes, but like a gruesome car wreck it is almost impossible to take your eyes off it. And it is funny. Sure, when the Bad Lieutenant is suffocating an old lady I would like NOT to be laughing, but there I was. There were a lot of things in this movie that probably pushed the limits in good taste in sacrifice to humor, at least I hope this movie was trying to be funny, but there you go.

‘The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans’ is a different kind of thing that’s for damn sure. If you’re a fan of Nick Cage and you like watching Nick go all ‘Vampire’s Kiss’ on screen then Christmas has come early for you out there. However if the original ‘Bad Lieutenant’ is like your favorite movie… well… while I don’t think its ever a good idea to wish death on folks… and we’re looking at you Abel Ferrara… but let’s just say I halfway understand where you’re coming from. For me, it was interesting to watch and I’m glad I saw it but man… you couldn’t pay me to sit through again. Kind of the same way I felt about the original.

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