Quirky pop culture legend Nicolas Cage showcases the living bombastic embodiment of his fictionalized self in the action-comedy The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (Lionsgate Home Entertainment, rated R, 2.39:1 aspect ratio, 107 minutes, $42.99), now available in ultra-high definition disc format.
Written and directed by Tom Gormican, the story finds the slightly manic and down-on-his-luck actor (kinda true right now) losing a role of the lifetime and agreeing to a lucrative cash grab involving an appearance at a billionaire super fan’s birthday party (Pedro Pascal).
His new fan friend also happens to be accused of being the head of an international arms cartel and wanted by the CIA. Mr. Cage is recruited to infiltrate his organization, stick around after the party and help also rescue a young girl kidnaped by the supposed boss.
Let the car chases, firefights and high jinks begin.
Mr. Cage takes a hilarious, introspective look at himself and obviously has a sense of humor about his persona. His performance is highlighted by occasionally talking to an imaginary version of his younger aggressive self, nicknamed Nicky (from his “Wild at Heart” days).
Mr. Pascal is equally hilarious as his evolving friendship with Mr. Cage turns the first half of the film into a silly bromance before the action kicks in.
The director also never mocks but embraces the career of the actor, in a loving way, offering snippets of his catalog and Easter Eggs geared toward the most ardent of Mr. Cage’s fans.
The UHD presentation takes its source from a 4K master and provides a clean, detailed presentation although never requiring a vivid or saturated presence. The visual effort does shine when admiring the super fan’s Spanish oceanside estate and surrounding lush terrain.
Best extras: An optional commentary track with Mr. Gormican and co-writer Kevin Ettan leads the way but is sorely missing the presence of Mr. Cage.
Come on, throw the actor some cash to make it worth his while to participate and discuss a film that is literally an homage to his movie career.
Still, they offer a low-key and sometimes sporadic discussion, often commenting on a scene and covering the script, cast, crew and overall production.
Specifics include starting the film with a scene from someone else’s movie (“Con Air” to be precise); the director getting COVID-19; Mr. Cage’s character motivations (also as Nicky); trying to get Mr. Cage to sing Guns n’ Roses’ “November Rain”; and Mr. Pascal actually being a huge fan of Mr. Cage.
Next, seven extras (roughly 30 minutes total) cover the story origins and production basics including creating the action scenes, a look at Mr. Pascal’s character and Mr. Cage explaining the origin of his fondness for Nicky along with the magic of the pair sharing the screen.
Best of the bunch is a 15-minute panel discussion at Austin’s SXSW 2022 with the director, writers and actors including Mr. Cage that also includes questions from the audience.
Also, viewers get a great deleted scene that has Mr. Cage and his alter ego battling on sets from his previous films and in a German expressionism style paying homage to “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.”
The director explained in the optional commentary track that the studio decide to cut out the scene because it would be too much for mainstream audiences to handle. What a bunch of baloney, Lionsgate brass.