TOKAREV (aka RAGE) | BLU RAY REVIEW & GIVEAWAY

Oh what happened to Nic Cage, his early films were just superb, he was my “must see guy” and BRINGING OUT THE DEAD is still one of my all time favourite films. Then he just got addicted to making shit, and has the worst agent on the planet and a prolific work ethic but embraces the quantity over quality ethos. OK, as an aside I do have a review coming soon for his latest film JOE – it is just brilliant but for now we are reviewing TOKAREV, in the US they called it RAGE, why you ask? I have no freaking idea but can gather that TOKAREV sounds too foreign and RAGE is only really one syllable so more people will be into that :). TOKAREV is out now on DVD and BLU RAY from EAGLE ENTERTAINMENT and because they are freaking awesome we have 3X copies on DVD and 3X copies on Blu Ray. Find out how to win below after Kernel John’s fine review. His reviews even make you appreciate crap films 🙂 TOKAREV is rated MA15+ and runs for 90mins. Enjoy…………..all the best……………..JK.

 

TOKAREV BLU RAY COVER IMAGE
TOKAREV | SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | BLU RAY COVER

 

REVIEW BY JOHN MCPARLAND

In 1931, the Soviet military adopted a new weapon to replace the aging Nagant M1895 Revolver that had been in use since 1895.  They decided on the TT-30 7.62mm self-loading semi-automatic pistol; known more generally as a Tokarev, after its designer Fedor Tokarev.  It is such a notable event to have something named after you, and generally implies some great contribution to the overall whole.  Though having your moniker attributed to a firearm may be deemed a somewhat inglorious honour by most, it nevertheless means that your name will live on, long after you yourself have shuffled off to that big munitions factory in the sky.

Tokarev the man was so respected by his country for his contributions to warfare that he was awarded one of its highest awards: the Hero of Socialist Labor.  That is indeed a noteworthy achievement.  Tokarev the weapon is still in use today, more than 80 years after its creation, and has participated in nearly every single major conflict of the 20th century that the USSR and then Russia has been involved in, bar World War I.  That is also a truly noteworthy achievement.  TOKAREV the film on the other hand falls well short of such notoriety and is most certainly not a great contribution to the overall Tokarev namesake.

 

TOKAREV MOVIE IMAGE
TOKAREV | SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | PAUL (NICOLAS CAGE) & VANESSA MAGUIRE (RACHEL NICHOLS)

 

Spaniard Paco Cabezas directs this thriller in his first English production.  It stars Academy Award winner Nicolas Cage (GHOST RIDER, LEAVING LAS VEGAS) as ex gangster Paul Maguire, living the good life with his daughter and frightfully young trophy wife after a particularly lucrative score during his youth allowed him to escape the underworld.  When Russian mobsters kill his daughter, Maguire believes it is in retaliation for the deeds he committed decades before as a gangster.  He reaches out to his former criminal associates for assistance, and vows bloody vengeance on the entire mob for taking his daughter’s life.

TOKAREV tries to play on the success of films such as MAN ON FIRE and TAKEN, emulating many of the themes found in those two movies.  However, key aspects of the plot differ significantly, making TOKAREV a poor substitute.  Firstly, this is a film of revenge from the outset.  The daughter’s death is the catalyst for the entire movie; rescue or redemption are never options.  Revenge is a hard concept to portray believably on film.  Restricted as they are to cinematic time constraints, film producers are often forced to lay very little foundation for the revenge motive, so as to allow as much time as possible for the actual vengeance part.  True to form, the daughter is killed so early on that you never have the chance to really get attached to her.  So while, intellectually, I could understand Maguire’s desire for revenge, emotionally I could not help but feel that his response was a massive overreaction, as I never had that connection to his daughter properly established.  By contrast, TAKEN was always about rescue and a race against the clock, so you are constantly barracking for Liam Neeson to win through.  MAN ON FIRE spends an hour establishing how adorable Dakota Fanning is before she is “killed,” and every audience member starts baying for Denzel Washington to start taking scalps.

 

TOKAREV MOVIE IMAGE
TOKAREV | SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | PAUL (NICOLAS CAGE) & SOME MEAN DUDES

 

Second is the protagonist.  Both Neeson and Washington portray true heroes in their respective films.  They are men who have fallen on hard times as a direct result of the sacrifices they have made in the past to keep the world a safer place, yet struggle though this adversity to save the day one final time.  Each have their flaws, but this only helps to further humanise the character, making their triumph all that sweeter.  Cage’s character on the other hand is no white knight.  He is the epitome of an antihero and the film goes to great lengths to reinforce his criminal past.  Less a reformed crook, Maguire is more a cruel, hard man who saw a lucky break one day and took it.  It is difficult to get behind such a character and support his actions when you cannot help but feel his fate is justified.  He believes his daughter’s murder was an act of revenge, and you almost start to think he deserves what is happening to him, which is not what the film is trying to promote.

The film’s acting is relatively average.  The one standout though is Cage.  His screams and cries of despair, his almost manic single mindedness towards revenge, and the looks of rage and fury on his face as he stands over the mutilated corpses of his victims and shakes his blood soaked fists towards the heavens are all top notch.  He certainly made me feel his anguish.

 

TOKAREV MOVIE IMAGE
TOKAREV | SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | PAUL (NICOLAS CAGE) & DET. PETER ST. JOHN (DANNY GLOVER)

 

There are some questionable castings in TOKAREV though.  Cage is 50 and looks it in this film, yet he is paired with 34 year old Rachel Nichols (CONTINUUM television series) who has been done up to look only slightly older than Maguire’s 17 year old daughter, which was weird.  Also, Danny Glover (SAW, LETHAL WEAPON) stars as Detective Pointless, a cop introduced as Maguire’s friend who refuses to arrest him despite knowing what Maguire is doing.  Glover does nothing to progress the plot and if anything, confuses and detracts from it.  Though his performance is solid, his inclusion as a police officer is about as useful as a police officer in every Marvel film ever made.  All they do is get in the way.

In the end, TOKAREV is a weak movie with a worn out premise that tries too hard to emulate films of greater calibre.  The plot is silly but even still, refuses to hold the course.  A last minute twist left me wondering what the point of the entire film was, though sadly I began to suspect it about halfway through.  Revenge is the goal, but revenge is never truly served, and only in some vast, cosmic opinion of karma could it be argued Maguire got what was coming to him.  By the close, I was left to feel that while the Universe’s books were now in balance, little had been achieved towards the stated goal of vengeance for Maguire’s daughter.  Cage’s performance and some above average action scenes do not do enough to save this movie.

I am sure that Fedor Tokarev would be truly embarrassed at the way his legacy has been tarnished by this film.  And considering that his most successful contribution to the world has no doubt been responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people, to invoke such embarrassment is quite the achievement indeed.

 

2 Pops

 

With special thanks to EAGLE ENTERTAINMENT to win one of the 3x DVDs or 3x BLU RAYS of TOKAREV you need to either like and share this post on Facebook or retweet/ favourite it on Twitter, you then need to answer the following question. Be sure to stipulate which format you would prefer with your answer.

Firstly, just an FYI on how to increase chances of winning a salty comp; commenting on the review generally holds you in better stead of winning as opposed to just comp sexing :)

WHAT IS THE BEST NIC CAGE FILM OF ALL TIME AND WHY? Hands down, no competition for me, BRINGING OUT THE DEAD, I just worship the movie and regularly tweet the distributor in the US asking them when it is coming out on Blu Ray, they are yet to reply 🙂

If you do not have Facebook and Twitter then you can still enter, leave your entry below and email me at jkdigitaldesigns@gmail.com telling me you don’t have social media 

Prizes will be awarded based on skill and selected purely on the thoughts of the judges, said judges being the Salty Kernels, more likely ME.

The prizes will be sent in the next week or two. Good luck! Oh, and minor housekeeping – huge apologies for overseas readers, this competition is only available to Australian residents.