Combustible Celluloid
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With: Hayden Christensen, Nicolas Cage, Yifei Liu, Andy On, Bill Su Jiahang, Anoja Dias Bolt
Written by: James Dormer
Directed by: Nick Powell
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 99
Date: 02/27/2015

Outcast (2015)

1 Star (out of 4)

See No Medieval

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

It might have taken a master storyteller to make something good out of the creaky Outcast, but Nick Powell, a stuntman who makes his directorial debut, does not seem to have what it takes. Nicolas Cage appears in less than one-third of this stone-faced movie; it could have used more of his loony acting.

In the 12th century, a Chinese ruler names his youngest son Zhao (Bill Su Jiahang), a kindly, bookish type, to be his heir. The eldest son, a brutal warlord, Shing (Andy On), kills their father and blames the murder on Zhao, causing Zhao and his older sister, Lian (Liu Yifei), to flee. They take with them an important royal seal that Shing must retrieve. Thankfully, a lone, mysterious warrior (Hayden Christensen) happens along to help them escape the hoards of evil soldiers on their trail. Eventually the warrior finds his way back to his own master, known as "The White Ghost" (Nicolas Cage). Together they wage a final battle in hopes of restoring Zhao to the throne.

The filming is atrocious, with wobbly camerawork and rat-a-tat-tat editing that often favors five separate shots when one would do fine. In one scene, a character dumps a bucket of water over his head; Powell shows it in three cuts, including one from inside the bucket.

Set in medieval times, the movie consists largely of fight scenes staged with modern-day fight techniques that look out of place and phony. Both Cage and Hayden Christensen perform their cringe-worthy dialogue in accents that they can't quite manage, and hairstyles that are distractingly odd. The movie's only attribute is that, it's so bad that might benefit from a Mystery Science Theater 3000-type drubbing.

A 2015 Blu-ray release by EOne comes with interviews, a making-of featurette, and a trailer.

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