Prisoners of the Ghostland is weird even for a modern-day Nic Cage movie. This one comes from director Sion Sono, who is trying his best to outdo Takashi Miike for weird, esoteric Japanese films.

The film takes place in a surreal world that is a mix of ancient Japan, the American old west, and modern times. Just go with it…

Nic Cage

Cage plays a violent criminal who gets caught after a bank robbery goes south when his partner (Nick Cassavetes) goes on a mad-dog killing spree. Years later the dictator-like ruler of the town, played by Bill Moseley, forces Cage into going into a haunted area to retrieve his runaway adopted child.

The ruler keeps him on mission using a very Escape From New York method via a suit with an exploding neck, arm, and nutsack gimmick with a count-down clock. Not one, but three threats.

It’s a strange one. Prisoners Of The Ghostland is heavy on the metaphor and symbolism so beloved by subversive Japanese filmmakers that, in this hillbilly’s opinion, is a bit out of place and too esoteric. It didn’t ruin the film for me, but it was a little tiresome.

If you liked Mandy and Willy’s Wonderland¬†you will like this one. If you didn’t like those, then you’d better pass on this one.

Nic Cage

It is violent, but not the level of violence I was hoping for. We get sword fighting, hooker beheading, minigun slaughtering, 6-shooter gun fighting, arm exploding, testicle exploding, child-killing, nuke blasts, and plain old fist fighting.

Alongside cage, Prisoners Of The Ghostland stars Nick Cassavetes, Bill Moseley, Sofia Boutella, and Tak Sakaguchi.

I don’t know how to rate this one for a general audience. Maybe Rotten Tomatoes might help with this one:

“…the film has an approval rating of 75% based on reviews from 77 critics, with an average rating of 6.3/10. The website’s critics consensus reads, “Prisoners of the Ghostland is far from Sono’s most distinctive work, but viewers in the mood for a deliriously gonzo genre mash-up featuring an explosive performance from Nicolas Cage just might have a ball.”

Hmmmm… maybe this needs two ratings. One for fans of the genre, one for normies.

Prisoners Of Ghostland releases September 17, 2021.

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