Nicolas Cage plays recently promoted New Orleans' cop Terence McDonagh, who, along with partner Val Kilmer, is trying to locate those behind the execution-style murder of an entire family. His investigation takes him deep into the city's underworld, a journey which accelerates his own addiction to cocaine and exposes him, his friends and his family to violent retribution.
Apart from sharing the character concept of a corrupt police lieutenant, this is in no way a remake, not even a loose one - the location, storyline and cast of supporting characters are completely different. What writer William M Finkelstein and director Werner Herzog have concocted is a cinematic jambalaya, with startling and surreal imagery bleeding from the storyline, as Cage's grip on reality begins to weaken. There's a terrific cast - Eva Mendes is great as Cage's hooker girlfriend, whilst there's sterling support from the likes of Fairuza Balk, Brad Dourif and Vondie Curtis-Hall. The setting of post-Katrina New Orleans is a masterstroke - a dark, brooding backdrop to the film's increasingly eccentric events and unexpected conclusion.
However, the main attraction here is Nicolas Cage. After many years' exile in the Disney/Bruckheimer wilderness, Cage is back and on top form. What's striking is how surprisingly restrained his performance is - yes, there are occasions when he goes completely off-the-chart nuts onscreen but these are isolated moments. You can tell that Cage has matured as an actor since his earlier roles and that he's also enjoying the challenges that "Bad Lieutenant" brings him.
At times bizarre, but never less than entertaining, "Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call - New Orleans" is a must-see.