Bad Lieutenant, where do I even start? I don’t think I would even call this a remake of the 1992 film Bad Lieutenant by Abel Ferrara, they only share the title really. They are nothing a like at all, the characters in question are different, the tone of the films are different and that is all I will say about that.
So what exactly is this film about? In a nutshell, we meet Terence McDonagh (Nic Cage) who is a detective, and he gambles, does drugs and has a prostitute girlfriend. He is a bit of a crazy man, however he is on the case to solve a series of murders. That is really what this film is about, there is more to it but you really just need to see it.
This is a film that you will either really love or you will hate it, it certainly is not for everyone and it is a bit of an acquired taste. Werner Herzog has created his own thing here, and he got the perfect person to play his Bad Lieutenant, this was made for Nic Cage. No one else can do crazy the way Nic Cage does it. Now he has been in some bad films, put on bad crazy performances, but I found he was actually rather good as Terence. I liked his performance and he brought this strange appeal to the character. He is not someone you would like but some how you find yourself on his side and you don’t want anything bad to happen to him (kind of the way that happens with Vic on The Shield).
The supporting cast are actually all rather good and I was pleasantly surprised by Eva Mendes who I normally find average at best, she was quite good as Frankie the prostitute girlfriend. Shawn Hatosy and Val Kilmer were rather good as the other detectives, they played off Nic Cage really well and it worked. There are a lot of cameos to keep an eye out for, just check them out I wont ruin them for you.
I felt that my experience with this film, the less I actually knew the better it worked out. This is often the case and I really do not want to divulge too much more about it. I felt the script itself was solid, there are some good twists and turns and some very odd events you wont see coming. It is hard to pin point what Herzog wanted to say exactly with this film, you just go along for the ride.