Directed by Simon West, 2012's Stolen stars Nicholas Cage as Will Montgomery who, along with his pal, Vincent (Josh Lucas), joins up with Riley (Malin Akerman) and Reginald (M.C. Gainey) to pull off a robbery big enough to let them live the good life. Unfortunately when Detective Harlend (Danny Huston) gets word of what's going down, he busts Will, the other three men make it out of there in time. This lands Will eight years in prison which gives his daughter Alison (Sami Gayle) plenty of time to grow into a young woman without him. When he is let out after doing his time, he wants nothing more than to reunite with her but things get complicated when Vincent shows up seemingly out of nowhere and kidnaps Alison.
Vincent thinks that Will still has the ten million dollar in missing cash from the botched robbery - hence the kidnapping plan. The problem here is that Will doesn't have the money, he burned it on hopes of skipping out on doing time. Vincent isn't having any of it, however: he's given Will twelve hours to find the money or he'll murder Alison. So with that laid on the line, Will finds himself in a race against time on the streets of New Orleans during the chaos of Mardi Gras and the only person who might be able to help him is Harlend... only he doesn't believe him.
Remarkable primarily for how completely by the numbers it is, Stolen is the very embodiment of a disposable, cliché ridden thriller. Cage pretty much sleepwalks through this movie, which is a shame as had he delivered one of his more manic turns (think Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call New Orleans) the movie might have at least been entertaining enough. Instead, it's bland. Completely bland. He does alright in the fight scenes and occasionally appears to be trying to rise to the occasion but these moments are few and far between, making us yearn for 'crazy Cage' if only to find something here to hold our interest. Sadly, it never happens, and if Cage is bored, so too are the rest of the cast. Josh Lucas invests nothing into his role and plays things up a little too much, cruising around The Big Easy in a goofy looking wig and never once convincing us. Sami Gayle is cute enough and not bad in her role but really not given a whole lot to do.
The script, written David Guggenhem, borrows more than a few ideas from Taken but the movie lacks that film's intensity and Cage can't compete with the awesomeness that Liam Neeson brought to that movie. There also isn't a whole lot of concern here for realism, plausibility or believability. Stuff just sort of happens because it would be cool to have it happen, there's no logical flow to the chain of events that transpire in this movie - you could mix up the different set pieces into pretty much any order you'd like without hurting the finished product.
As far as the direction goes, West manages to pace the movie well enough but when it's all as predictable as it is here, you can't really care so much. A few decent action scenes can't make up for the complete lack of originality and creativity here, though in all fairness, a couple of cool car chase scenes add some mild excitement to the movie. The scenery is nice and there are fairly decent production values evident throughout the movie. The New Orleans back drop is at least mildly exotic enough that we're given something to look at in the background as the cast and crew all go through the motions.
Stolen arrives on Blu-ray in its original aspect ratio of 2.35.1 widescreen in an AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer that looks just fine. Colors are nicely reproduced and black levels look pretty solid throughout. Skin tones look nice and natural and there are no problems with compression artifacts or heavy edge enhancement. There aren't any issues with print damage, dirt or debris of any kind and detail and texture are pretty nice throughout.
There's nothing to complain about in terms of the quality of the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix on this. Presented in the film's native English, it demonstrates good depth and fairly strong bass response noticeably during the action scenes. Dialogue is clean and clear and easy to follow and the levels are properly balanced. Surround activity is solid and there is consistently good use made of the directional effects throughout the movie. As you'd expect from a movie so recent, there are no issues with any hiss or distortion of note. Optional subtitles are provided in English SDH and Spanish. An English language Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo track is also included.
Extras include Featurette (6:43 - the title is almost as generic as the movie!), a quick behind the scenes bit that includes some input from Cage who speaks over footage shot on the set during the production. A few of the other cast and crew members pop up here as well, but it's fairly pedestrian, everyone talks about how great working with one another was and how wonderful the project was. The Cast And Crew Interviews section is 42:16 worth of on camera chats with Simon West, Nicholas Cage and a few others and this goes into more depth than the earlier segment does and it includes some slightly more comprehensive thoughts from those involved as they discuss their characters (where applicable), what it was like working together and why this movie is so great - and whether or not you can actually melt gold or not. The Behind The Scenes (10:55) segment is a brief collection of completely random footage shot during the making of the movie presented here fly on the wall style without any context or narration.
You could do worse than Stolen but you could certainly do a whole lot better. The movie brings absolutely nothing new to the table, it's entertaining enough for what it is but it's entirely devoid of originality or impact of any kind. The movie is about as 'by the numbers' as you can get and with that being the case, you have to be a diehard Cage fan to want to bother in the first place. With that said, the Blu-ray looks good and sounds nice as well - this is, ultimately, a pretty decent presentation of a completely forgettable film. Skip it.
Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.