Director: Larry Charles
Distributor: Splendid Film
Duration: 92 minutes
Army of One (DVD) – Movie Review
We know Nicolas Cage from all kinds of eccentric roles he played over the last decades. Since 2016, he can tick off ‘crazy ex-con on a quest to capture Osama Bin Laden’ from his bucket list, as that is exactly the part he plays in Army of One. It sounds quite insane, but we must say, he played this character quite convincingly. Praise the Lord, Gary Faulkner is here to protect you!
Gary Faulkner (Nicolas Cage) is an ex-con, suffering from a kidney disease. He now works at a store for DIY equipment and leads a very normal life, be it not for the fact that his disease causes him to have visions. Gary believes to have visions of God (Russell Brand), who tells him that he should go to Pakistan and capture Osama Bin Laden, as the US army doesn’t seem to be able to do the trick. He immediately makes preparations to go to Pakistan by boat, but after many bad encounters, it turns out that that’s not the best idea. He doesn’t give up though, and comes up with a new plan which involves paragliding, also not the most obvious option to get there, but he’s determined to make it work.
In the meantime, Gary meets his high school crush at the store where he works. Marci Mitchell (Wendi McLendon-Covey) accepts his invitation to have a drink together, and thus the two start talking. Marci takes care of her sister’s disabled daughter Lizzie (Chenoa Morison), which is challenging, but she manages. When Gary comes over to their house, Lizzie seems to like him straight away, and Marci too is happy with the company. Nonetheless, even they can’t get the idea out of his head to go to Pakistan and capture OBL. And thus Gary takes off once more, so he can make God proud.
The story of this film is, to say the least, quite strange. Knowing that it is based on a true existing person is even more disturbing, as it makes you realize how crazy the world really is. Nonetheless, as a comedy the story actually seems to work fine, be it mostly because of Nicolas Cage’s contribution. The flow of this flick isn’t particularly fast, despite the fact that the objective of Faulkner’s attempts to go to Pakistan is quite obvious from the start, and also whether or not he will achieve his goal is pretty obvious as we all know Bin Laden’s fate. When it comes to the comical aspect, the film did its best and certainly made us laugh at times, but at other times, our sentiments more resembled disbelief and pity for Marci and Lizzie, while we got quite annoyed by Cage’s character too, which was probably the purpose though.
Nicolas Cage is really the man who keeps this film from getting tiresome. Even though we’re not used to see him in a role such as this, we were pleasantly surprised as to the way he handled it, which only shows how great of an actor he is. Russell Brand was well cast for his role as God, if only for his looks. In this movie, the slightly arrogant and self-assured appearance he has, works perfectly. Next to his appearance, his acting was convincing enough as well. Wendi McLendon-Covey seemed to need some time to warm up, as the first few scenes didn’t feel that genuine, but luckily she got better throughout the movie, portraying one of the very few characters in this movie that are actually completely sane.
This DVD release only offers a trailer in the extras menu, which is quite the anticlimax. We did expect some more special features, as a comical film like this often offers at least a gag reel or deleted scenes. It is what it is, but without extra content, this release feels a lot less appealing to buy.
Army of One leaves us a bit with mixed feelings, as Nicolas Cage did a wonderful job, and the story is quite funny at times, but on the other hand, it isn’t much more than a comedy that has some funny sequences. Overall, it did exceed our expectations though, and thus in the end we were pleasantly surprised with the outcome of the whole. Maybe it isn’t the best film to spend your money on, it is worth the watch if it happens to air on TV.