When it comes to the career of cinematic art form Nicolas Cage, there’s no such thing as a boring announcement. The golden child of the Coppola family is always taking us by surprise with his bewildering career decisions, but that’s what makes him so special. The only thing that’s predictable about Cage is his unpredictability, and his latest venture is another wonderful WTF moment.
Variety reports that Cage has signed on to star in the film adaptation of comic book Jiu Jitsu. The story follows an ancient order comprised of masters of the titular sport who must protect Earth from alien invaders. Cage plays one of the heroes tasked with punching aliens. The film is also being helmed by Dimitri Logothetis, who wrote the comic with Jim McGrath. The director’s previous genre efforts include Kickboxer: Retaliation, Wings of the Dragon, and Slaughterhouse Rocks. This should make for an interesting collaboration.
Cage performing jiu-jitsu seems random, but the actor is no stranger to the world of martial arts. As noted by Bleacher Report, he has trained in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under UFC Hall of Famer Royce Gracie. Furthermore, he has also studied Wing Chun, which he showcased in Bangkok Dangerous. Unexpected, I know. But Cage is full of surprises, and if extraterrestrial beings really did invade our planet, Cage would probably be Earth’s greatest defense force. That’s why he’s perfect for this movie.
Whether or not the movie is good remains to be seen, but I’d put money on it being very entertaining. Logothetis is a solid action director, but his movies are very self-aware. Kickboxer: Retaliation even features a dance scene on a train before all hell breaks loose. These nutty ideas certainly appeal to Cage, and Jiu Jitsu is likely to boast plenty of laughs and surprises that will bring out the actor’s scenery-chewing brilliance.
Jiu Jitsu is merely the latest upcoming Cage project to pair him with an interesting genre director, though. He’ll also be teaming up with cult auteur and occult enthusiast Richard Stanley for the H.P. Lovecraft adaptation Color Out of Space. Stanley doesn’t make nearly enough movies, but when he does they prove to be worth the wait. Go check out Dust Devil and Hardware if you haven’t seen them yet. Cage will complement his style very well.
On top of that, he’s starring in Sion Sono’s Prisoners of the Ghostland, which Cage promises to be his “wildest” movie yet. Sono’s movies have a tendency to be over-the-top, mind-boggling, and violent. When Cage is let loose in the Japanese maverick’s first English-language feature, chaos will reign supreme and our brains will be blown to smithereens.
If these movies live up to their potential, we’ll witness some of Cage’s most creatively fulfilling work to date. Sure, they won’t conquer the box office, but they’ll make some noise and inspire terrific performances from Cage.
That said, Hollywood is foolish to keep Cage on the fringes. He’s an Academy Award-winning actor with a unique aura and incredible screen presence. He’s also capable of delivering the goods in everything from summer blockbusters to Oscar-worthy dramas, and more mainstream movies should put their faith in his abilities. Let him be a villain in a Fast and Furious movie or something.
At the same time, the mainstream’s loss is our gain. These bonkers and original indie efforts really suit the actor’s sensibilities, and when he works with a great director he produces magic. Jiu Jitsu will probably lean more toward the trashier side of Cage fare, but he tends to turn trash into treasure. However, don’t sleep on some of his other upcoming flicks, because they’re going to remind people that Cage is a powerhouse.