Japanese | English |
In the treacherous frontier city of Samurai Town, a ruthless bank robber is sprung from jail by wealthy warlord The Governor, whose adopted granddaughter Bernice has gone missing. The Governor offers the prisoner his freedom in exchange for retrieving the runaway. Strapped into a leather suit that will self-destruct within five days, the bandit sets off on a journey to find the young woman—and his own path to redemption.
If you enjoy reading my Spoiler-Free reviews, please follow my blog @ https://www.msbreviews.com Nonsensical. Absurd. Ridiculous. Just plain stupid. These words usually serve to describe an incredibly awful movie that I try to forget forever and ever. However, some extremely rare pieces of absolutely crazy filmmaking are also characterized by the adjectives above, offering me the most entertaining time I can possibly ask for. An example of this case is Prisoners of the Ghostland. It’s exceptionally dumb, follows a narrative completely devoid of any logic, and mixes up dozens of many genres by using different costumes, all sorts of epic scores, and character archetypes. Boasting an impressive production and set design (major Hollywood studios should be envious), Sion Sono offers the audience precisely what they expect from a film starring the maddest actor alive, Nicolas Cage. From the well-choreographed, well-edited, explosively bloody, hilarious action sequences to the infinite storylines, the viewers either accept whatever lunatic plot point or device the movie throws at the audience, or this is going to be a festival of pointing out what’s wrong with the whole film. Prophecies, nuclear wars, zombies, samurais, cowboys… every generic development and formulaic characters we always see in every genre are present in this amalgam of pure chaos. As expected, Cage shines in another role that will probably generate thousands of new memes, but this time Sofia Boutella and Bill Moseley also deliver two captivating performances that kept me invested when Cage was out. The only problem I have with this type of movie is the balance of the whole craziness. I don’t mind every single minute being packed with utterly ludicrous stuff, but when it starts getting genuinely confusing, that’s when it becomes too much for me to handle. Nevertheless, as long as you keep your mind open and focus on the protagonist’s main mission - and solely on that - you’ll be able to enjoy this movie as much or more than I did. Prisoners of the Ghostland is everything a film starring Nicolas Cage is expected of being. Possessing technical attributes of making the biggest Hollywood studios shamelessly hide with envy, Sion Sono’s movie is as illogical, absurd, ridiculous, stupid, and insanely entertaining as I hoped it would be. By mixing up dozens of distinct genres, the straightforward premise gets sucked into a world of total anarchy, where samurais, cowboys, nuclear explosions, modern cars, and much more collide to surround an otherwise simple narrative with nonsensically hilarious storylines and awesome action sequences. Sofia Boutella and Bill Moseley help Cage tackle this chaos, but the latter is the absolute standout due to his remarkable experience in crazy films. Despite it occasionally crossing the line and becoming too much for me to manage - it becomes seriously confusing - as long as the viewers are well-prepared to accept every jaw-dropping new development, fun is guaranteed with this brilliant satire. Rating: A-
There’s an unspoken rule of kick-ass cinema that goes something like this: if Nic Cage is attracted to a project, it’s guaranteed to at least be more interesting than most, if not all-out bonkers. Such is the case with “Prisoners of the Ghostland,” an outrageous achievement in gonzo filmmaking from director Sion Sono. The film doesn’t have a very complicated plot and a lot of it makes no sense, but this is a badass-looking showpiece of cult cinema. A bank robber (Nicolas Cage) is sprung from jail by the Governor (Bill Moseley) and is given a task that he can’t refuse. In exchange for his freedom, the convict must find and rescue the Governor’s missing granddaughter, Bernice (Sofia Boutella). The unlikely hero is sent into the barren, hazardous area known as the Ghostland, outfitted with a leather suit that is set to explode if things don’t go as planned (spoiler alert: they don’t). His journey takes him on a wild adventure that’s filled with gunslingers, samurai, and the radioactive residents of a post-apocalyptic wasteland. The film isn’t burdened with genre conventions and as a result, his film has an original vision that plays like Mad Max kabuki theater. From nightmarish visuals to elaborate costumes, this blend of East meets West is a choreographed symphony of strange from start to finish. It’s a ridiculously good looking movie, with brightly colored hues and stunning cinematography. It’s a real feast for the eyes. There’s a specific audience for this movie, and you can probably sense if you’re in that group or not. Bottom line: if you love seeing Nicolas Cage doing outrageously Cage-y things, then “Prisoners of the Ghostland” should be on your must-see list.