What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Rage is a revenge thriller starring Nicolas Cage. The violence, while frequent and often over-the-top, doesn't have much blood. But there's lots of fighting, punching, shooting, slashing and stabbing with knives, car chases, foot chases, and explosions. Viewers also see some scenes of torture (a man is hung by his wrists and punched with brass knuckles; a rope is tied to a girl's neck and a brick, and the brick is thrown out the window), and a teen is kidnapped and dies. A woman who's apparently high on drugs, is treated roughly in one scene. Many drugs are mentioned by name, and teens are shown drinking -- and playing with guns -- with dire results. Language includes one use of "f--k" and a few uses of "s--t," plus "d--k," "slut," and more. Sexual content includes some passionate kissing from a married couple, some innuendo, and scantily clad women dancing at a strip club.
What's the story?
After the death of his first wife, former criminal Paul Maguire (Nicolas Cage) has gone straight in an effort to raise his daughter Caitlin (Aubrey Peeples) correctly. Now a teen, his daughter is starting to ask to spend time with her friends, and Paul reluctantly agrees. While he and his second wife, Vanessa (Rachel Nichols), are out one night, they get the news that Caitlin has been kidnapped. Paul immediately begins considering his old enemies in the Russian mafia, trying to decide which one might have done such a thing. When the stakes are raised, he goes back to his old gang and dispatches them into the underworld, ordering them to do anything to find out what really happened. But Paul just might go too far ... and still miss looking in the right place.
Is it any good?
RAGE is certainly a low point (albeit not the only one -- or the lowest one) in Cage's career. The actor is one of our best at coming unhinged onscreen, but director Paco Cabezas somehow keeps things somewhat muted. It feels like the dynamic, volatile actor is on auto-pilot, and the rest of the movie doesn't do much to back him up. Likewise, the terrific Nichols and Danny Glover feel as if they're just trying to get through each shot.
Characters rarely seem like living, breathing organisms, and they sometimes don't even appear to be reacting to one another, as if they weren't even in the room together. Even when the characters weep, it seems on cue. The plot is both confusing and ridiculous. It throws in so many characters and character names that it's difficult to keep track of who's doing what and why. Then the final reveal boils down to something so dumb that it's difficult to believe that these so-called professionals didn't figure it out sooner.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about Rage's violence. How much is shown or not shown? How did it affect you? Is it exciting/thrilling or downbeat? What's the difference?
What's the appeal of a revenge movie? What can we learn from stories of revenge?
How does the movie portray teen drinking? What are the consequences? Are they realistic?