Some of you may not know the name Sion Sono. He is a Japanese director, writer and poet and, in the writing/directing stakes, his movies include: Vagina and Virgin (Short), Phallus: The Man, No-Pants Girls: Movie Box-ing2, Bad Film and many, many more.
Who then, would you pair with this, seemingly, quite ‘out-there’ writer and director on his latest movie, Prisoners Of The Ghostland? Why, Nicolas Cage, obviously!
Prisoners Of The Ghostland co-stars Sofia Boutella (“Hotel Artemis”, “Atomic Blonde”) as Bernice, a woman who escapes from the clutches of The Governor, Bill Moseley (“Shed of the Dead”, “American Exorcist”).
He is the governor of Samurai Town which seems to be a really odd mix of old Japanese town with wild-west cowboys and geisha’s who are pimped out.
Cage meanwhile, is a bank robber alongside Psycho, Nick Cassavetes (“The Hangover Part II”, “Face/Off”), but winds up captured by The Governor when Psycho, living up to his name, begins killing women and children.
Cage, released from his cage, is tasked, by The Governor, to retrieve Bernice back from Area 244, a toxic wasteland allegedly haunted by ghosts from the toxic spill.
He is given a nice leather outfit with some fetching lights, one on each elbow, two around the neck and two at either testicle. The lights are bombs. Should he get amorous with Bernice, his balls will blow off, get rough with her, an arm will explode, fail to deliver her in five days, the whole suit goes up.
The movie is, well, it’s insanely bonkers. The dialogue is awful, cliched and hammy. There’s musical numbers, people holding the hands of a clock to prevent the passing of time, people wrapped in dummy masks, on and on it goes. However, you can’t take your eyes off it.
Cage and Boutella help the movie, a lot. That’s not to say this is their best work, not by a long shot, but they add to the movie.
Prisoners Of The Ghostland looks like it was made on a shoe-string budget by a first-time director who, inexplicably, managed to get Cage and Boutella to star in his movie.
But it’s not, Sono has made many, many movies. I’m not familiar with his others but, given the names of them, I’m going to guess they’re as crazy as this one.
It doesn’t make me want to seek out more of Sono’s work, but I’m not that upset having seen it. It’s nuts, in every way.
17th September 2021
THE QUICK SELL
A notorious criminal, Nicolas Cage, must break an evil curse in order to rescue an abducted girl, Sofia Boutella, who has mysteriously disappeared.