Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans

Rated 3.0

It is depressing how often a good actor takes that next step into superstardom only after deciding to phone it in. Think about it—Robert De Niro, Johnny Depp and Nicolas Cage, the phoning-it-in standard bearer—all of them reached the A-list once they stopped caring. Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans is Cage’s once-every-few-years attempt to remind us he’s still a real actor (and not just a mind-reading special effect), but even that has grown formulaic. The film is only tangentially related to Abel Ferrara’s 1992 film, and director Werner Herzog is more concerned with capturing the flavor of post-Katrina New Orleans than in Ferrara’s heavy-handed themes of sin and redemption. Herzog is no fan of genre filmmaking, which doesn’t stop him from recycling cop-movie clichés, stirring in artsy asides and getting the nobs to call it bouillabaisse.