Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Nicholas Cage kicks intro action in The Retirement Plan

Nicholas Cage and his nouveau shamanism are back on the screen for director Tim Brown in The Retirement Plan from Falling Forward Films. Brown also pens the film’s screenplay, introducing us to Ashley (Ashley Greene) and her husband in a heist gone wrong. The man of the house decides it’s best to send their young daughter Sarah (Thalia Campbell) to stay with Ashley’s estranged father, Matt (Nicolas Cage), currently living the life of a retired beach bum in the Cayman Islands.

Their reunion is fleeting as they are soon tracked down on the island by crime boss Donnie (Jackie Earle Haley) and his lieutenant Bobo (Ron Perlman). As Ashley, Sarah, and Matt become entangled in an increasingly dangerous web, Ashley quickly learns that her father had a secret past that she knew nothing about and that there is more to her father than meets the eye.

The Retirement Plan is the fifth Nicholas Cage film I’ve reviewed this year. It is abundantly clear that this accomplished actor shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. In 2023 alone, I have already had the pleasure of seeing Cage take on various dynamic roles, such as a cowboy, an efficient hitman, and even the infamous Dracula. In his most recent film, he portrays a skilled assassin, and it is evident that he relishes the opportunity to give life to such a complex character.

One of the first things viewers may notice about Matt is that he makes no qualms about being a lousy father and knows even less about being a grandfather. Brown makes the wise choice to peel away layers of Matt over the film, and while Matt is a skilled killer, the action choreography doesn’t go overboard with the plot armor.

The supporting cast in the film is surprisingly a diverse mix of talent, including Ernie Hudson, Lynn Whitfield, Joel David Moore, and the always enjoyable Ron Pearlman as Shakespeare quoting baddie. Pearlman has most of his scenes with Thalia Campbel’s character of Sarah, and the two play very well off each other. Furthermore, it’s always great to see Jackie Earle Haley as an antagonist.

One of the most surprising turns in the film comes from Grace Byers as your secondary villain. Granted, Byer’s claim to fame was on Empire, where she tapped into scoundrels’ behavior, but this go around, she goes into some dark places and does so effortlessly. I would welcome seeing the actress take on the role of a femme fatale.

If there is one downside to the film, it’s the performance of Ashley Greene. The actress isn’t bad, but everyone else in the cast outshines her, and she’s negated to a borderline damsel in distress. I also had a few issues with the abrupt ending, which could have been tighter.

The Retirement Plan is one of the films that twenty years ago would have had a vast rollout since it’s a crowd-pleaser that mixes comedy and action. Unfortunately, I fear that only a few will see it, given that it’s from a smaller one. The film is worth checking out if you can catch it in theaters.

Final Grade: B+

The Retirement Plan is in theaters now

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Nicholas Cage kicks intro action in The Retirement Plan