Under the Radar

Home Video: 'Arsenal'

Arsenal (out now on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD) is a bottom-of-the-barrel action thriller allegedly filmed in only two weeks in Biloxi, MS. It's a slow-motion car wreck, one of those movies you can't stop watching even though you can see the disaster unfold.

On the surface, it's the story of two brothers, JP (Adrian Grenier, Entourage) and Mikey (Johnathon Shaech, Texas Rising). Mikey is the screw-up but he raised younger brother JP, who's now a successful contractor. JP feels like his has to bail his brother out of whatever trouble he's found because, you know, family.

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One of their childhood friends has grown up to be undercover drug cop Sal. Played in the most relaxed manner imaginable by John Cusack, it's yet another drive-by performance by an actor who needs a shot at good parts again.

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Nicholas Cage blesses the movie with one of his most whacked-out performances in a career full of strange choices. He's Eddie King, the small-time crime boss who believes that Mikey should help him shake down his successful younger brother.

The clip embedded above isn't even the high (low) point of the the movie. That's a scene in which Eddie is confronted by his own brother (played by Nic's real-life brother Christopher Coppola) over his bad crime decisions and the two have to fight it out.

Chris isn't much of an actor but he did direct Nic in the 1993 movie Deadfall, in which Cage played a small-time hood named...Eddie. It's one of the actor's earliest off-the-rails performances in a career that's now full of them.

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Arsenal director Steven C. Miller confirmed on Twitter that Eddie from Deadfall is the same Eddie who appears in the new movie. That explains the outrageous wig that Cage wears in Arsenal and maybe the hyper-fast shooting schedule explains the mustache that won't quite stay glued onto Nic's face (or the beard that looks like it's falling off of Chris' face during his brief scene).

Depending on your perspective, Arsenal will either gets a firm zero-star rating or a hard five-star rave. Put me in the rave camp: any future movie star bios written about Cage should devote a full chapter to this crazy movie.

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