Monday, September 18, 2023

The Retirement Plan: Movie Review

A purposely bad movie with Cage in granddad/assassin mode.

Action comedy The Retirement Plan had very little planning go into it: Cast Nicolas Cage, make him a good guy, and have him kill a whole bunch of bad guys. There’s certainly an element of fun to that premise, but it’s a very broad, very over-the-top re-purposing of an action crime drama into a comedy. Jimmy and Ashley find themselves on the run from bad guys who will kill them if they don’t get what they want: a critical thumb drive. They need an escape plan.   2023

Directed by: Tim Brown

Screenplay by: Tim Brown

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Ashley Greene, Thalia Campbell and Ron Perlman

Their escape plan is hiding the drive on their young daughter Sarah, send her to the Cayman Islands with an address and two names, one of which is sure to belong to her estranged grandfather (Nicolas Cage) who is unaware of her existence and her pending arrival.

The opening sequence is filled with highly exaggerated bad guys with purposely bad dialogue which just gives way to bad acting. It’s a movie that desperately needs Cage in beach bum granddad mode. When he finally arrives, Cage does his best to chew all of the scenery of the impossibly blue sea and the gorgeous beaches of the Cayman Islands.

Nicolas Cage in beach bum granddad mode doesn’t last too long since a whole host of bad guys are about to arrive and Ashley is going to find out that her dad wasn’t just a retired civil servant but a government-employed assassin.

The rest of the movie is Cage killing bad guys. The body count is high, the vast majority of whom are killed one-by-one and with a different weapon. Without a doubt, there are entertaining moments here, the movie keeps moving, bad guys keep dying, but the laughs definitely feel forced. I’m fairly certain the screenplay is poorly written on purpose. The characteristics and dialogue given to all the bad guys are all cliché and over-done. And there are a lot of bad guys; from organized crime bosses to government officials, and every single one of them is a double agent. It unfortunately stopped making sense around the time Cage is introduced (very early) which is too bad because he’s the best part, naturally.

The Retirement Plan can be an enjoyable time if you go in expecting an action-filled killing spree with dialogue so bad it’s supposed to be funny but loops back around to bad. There are a lot of famous names and familiar faces along for the ride – some of whom actually make their lines work for this style of movie (notably Cage, Ernie Hudson, Joel David Moore, Rick Fox, and the young star Thalia Campbell), but the rest just end up highlighting how terrible the writing is.