I think I’m going soft in my old age. I always look over other reviews of films before I make up my own mind. First, it was Gotti which was critically panned and I ended up thoroughly enjoying it and then seeing reviews for 211 I once again was pleasantly surprised when the credits rolled. Once again, don’t get me wrong the film is by no means a masterpiece or anything even close but it’s certainly not the shitfest these critics make it seem.
Based on a true-story known as the Battle of North Hollywood which consisted of a prolonged shootout between police and armed robbers that ended with many casualties and property damage. Nicholas Cage plays Office Mike Chandler who’s routine patrol with a ride-along (Michael Rainey Jr.) gets thrust into a brutal standoff with a gang of mercenaries who are in the process of robbing a bank.
That’s all there is to know really. The plot is well non-existent once again other than a simple bank robbery storyline. There isn’t so much in the way of depth but I did appreciate the little backstory we received of the robbers in the introduction to the movie. It gave the film just a little bit of depth and thereafter we’re thrown head first into a brutal shootout.
I felt as thou Cage didn’t really have a great deal to do in this particular movie. He certainly isn’t the lead. Everyone feels like they’re on a level playing field and Cage feels like a supporting role amongst the chaos. What I particularly loved about 211 wasn’t the story but the intense shootout that took up a long duration of this particular feature. It was action-packed, bloody, explosive and intense and it was good fun to watch. It would be hard to get bored of the movie from an action point of view it’s the other things that provided more of a nuisance throughout.
We have some clichéd subplots including a cop on the verge of retirement, Cage’s partner having a baby on the way and a bullied kid looking for retribution to stand-up to his own personal demons on ride-along.
The film moves along at a breathtaking speed that we aren’t able to stop for a second and appreciate anything going happening on-screen. Thankfully some questionable camera angles in the first 20-minutes of the movie disappear thereafter. I’m not sure if the cinematographer had been drinking on that particular day but some of the shots were easily comparable to a low budget hand-held camera job. Thankfully things tighten up as we go along after a brutal opening sequence of amateur cinematic quality (bar the explosions and gunshot scenes of course).
First Looking Glass, now 211. Nicolas Cage is choosing some unusual titles in his later years but it doesn’t take anything away from his stardom. 211 won’t be winning any awards anytime soon but with some insane sequences, lots of blood and gore and more explosions than a July 4th celebration 211 is watchable, tolerable and certainly isn’t boring!