Nobody does crazy quite like Nicolas Cage and he might just be at his craziest (if that’s even possible) in 2016’S Army Of One. The comedy is the true story of a ‘normal’ American who decides to wage a one man war on Osama Bin Laden.
Cage plays unemployed Gary Faulkner, a US patriot who believes that God (Russell Brand) has sent him on a mission to find the world’s most wanted man and bring him to justice. Armed with just courage, stupidity and a sword, he sets out to Pakistan to right the wrong of 9/11. Faulkner sees himself as a Rambo figure, but in reality he’s just a loon who believes he can achieve what nobody else (not even the military) can.
This Larry Charles directed film might appear to be far-fetched, but sometimes the truth really is stranger than fiction. In reality Faulkner might be a batshit crazy wacko, but Cage plays him with just the right amount of sympathy. He makes Faulkner likeable, even when he’s doing the craziest things – and much of what you see on screen really happened. Charles doesn’t try to ground the film in an overt reality, he keeps everything loose and free, merging Faulkner’s reality and imagination. You’re never certain what is happening but it would seem it’s all very real to Gary Faulkner.
Like many of Cage’s recent films, this the type of film that Hollywood would have made a cinematic release in the ‘80s and ‘90s. However, a comedy like this just doesn’t have the megaplex sheen and therefore it received a small cinematic release before going the DVD/VOD route. It’s a solid film anchored by Cage’s quirky performance and some interesting comedy moments. However, like Gary Faulkner’s sanity, it doesn’t fully hold together. The ending doesn’t congeal and it’s an interesting story without any pay-off. You don’t expect him to find Bin Laden, but Nicolas Cage and this wacky story deserve more.
Army Of One isn’t brilliant, but it has some fine moment. It’s enjoyable as far as it goes and worth watching just so you’re primed for hitting Google to discover more about Gary Faulkner and his crazy exploits.