The Retirement Plan review – Nicolas Cage dials down the freaky in disposable comedy

Cage plays a former hitman forced to come out of retirement in this mostly fun action comedy drama with a really stupid plot

Nicolas Cage looks for all the world like a man drawing his pension early and letting it all hang out. Here he is on the beach wearing a Hawaiian shirt, warm beer in hand, with scraggly shoulder length hair (squint and you might mistake him for The Dude in The Big Lebowski). But no, this guy is a cold-hearted killer, battering out the brains of a mob goon with a dumbbell as if he is swatting a fly. “The grandpa! He keeps killing everybody!” the goon’s colleague complains in a caveman growl.

The funny thing is, in his performance as a former government hitman, Cage dials it down nicely, keeping his freaky at a gentle 6 out 10. The film cruises along on his charm; it’s otherwise a totally disposable but mostly entertaining action comedy drama with a really stupid plot and a few good laughs.

Ashley Greene plays Ashley, who hasn’t seen her dad Matt (Cage) in years and has no clue about his hitman past. When she gets entangled with an organised crime gang, Ashley puts her 11-year-daughter on a flight from Miami to the Cayman Islands to stay with Matt. A football team’s worth of thugs are on the next flight out – guys with muscles that would crush Dwayne Johnson in an arm wrestle – but prove to be no match for wily 59-year-old Cage.

The performances are the weak link here. Cage does his thing with the relaxed air of a man who is in on the joke and having a fun time filming in the sunny Cayman Islands. Elsewhere, some of the actors are aiming for straight drama, but either their skills or the script isn’t up to it. Still, there are one or two funny moments – this is a film that will linger in your memory for a good three, or maybe four, seconds.

• The Retirement Plan is released on 29 September on digital platforms.


Cath Clarke

The GuardianTramp

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