Even the subset of Nicolas Cage fans who like it when the actor makes laughably terrible movies will have trouble sitting through “211,” a hostage thriller more boring than cheesy. Cage gets exactly one meme-able meltdown scene, about two-thirds of the way through the picture. The rest is a waste of time, even for trash cinema connoisseurs.
Written and directed by York Shackleton, “211” stars Cage as Mike Chandler, a beat cop just a few days from retirement (naturally), partnered with his son-in-law (of course), who’s about to become a papa (because why not). When they’re called to the scene of a bank robbery, the boys (Dwayne Cameron plays the son-in-law) quickly find their lives in danger.
The cops have been saddled with a troubled high-schooler, Kenny (Michael Rainey Jr.), whom they’re supposed be scaring straight, before their ride-along takes a dark turn. Kenny’s mother works at the emergency room that’s handling the armed robbers’ victims. There’s also an Interpol agent on the trail of the crooks, who are soldiers of fortune retrieving stolen millions.
If the above description makes “211” sound like goofy fun, don’t be misled. Every time Shackleton introduces another subplot, the film grinds to a halt so that everyone can clarify who they are and what they’re doing.
If every cast member were as intense as Cage, the flat, cliché-ridden, exposition-heavy “211” might be likably corny. They’re not, and it isn’t.
Rated: R, for violence and language throughout.
Running time: 1 hour, 27 minutes
Playing: Arena Cinelounge Sunset, Hollywood