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Parents' Guide to

A Score to Settle

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Uneven Nicolas Cage action movie; violence, drug use.

Movie NR 2019 103 minutes
A Score to Settle Poster Image

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This so-so action movie has a somewhat interesting storyline marred by various stock characters and clichés and a plot twist that, in hindsight, seems all but inevitable. Nicolas Cage plays Frank, newly released from prison and determined to get even with characters with names like "Jimmy the Dragon" and "The Tank" while also trying to make up for lost time with his now adult son and finding romance in the form of the proverbial "hooker with a heart of gold." This impossible balancing act is further complicated by Frank's impending death due to chronic insomnia. This juggling act between revenge, reconciliation, and romance doesn't quite hold up, and you're left wishing that Frank had simply chosen one of the three and gone from there.

As Frank, Nicolas Cage is, well, Nicolas Cage, for better or worse. During a climactic scene in A Score to Settle, Cage's exasperated repetition of the word "Beef?!" (as in "beef with me") comes off as unintentionally hilarious self-parody, and should inevitably be converted into GIFs and memes sooner rather than later. And yet, you still find yourself rooting for Frank, even if he wasn't the best person before his imprisonment and doesn't seem that much better after his release, aside from efforts at vulnerability with his son and the aforementioned sex worker/love interest. The result is an uneven and somewhat trite movie, and not one of the better works in the Nic Cage canon.

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