An "Outcast" Among Historians Review

Nobody goes East.

Oomph. Outcast (2014) follows Jacob (Hayden Christensen), a knight--possibly Templar--on crusade. That's what I assume anyway because it's the "12th century" in "the Middle East". Since there were numerous crusades during the 12th century, I can't be any more specific than that. What is important, it seems, is that they wore tunics and killed people in the name of God. With him on crusade is Gallian (Nicolas Cage), a rather jaded crusader who finds all this hypocritical and seems only to be following Jacob as a protector. During the introductory battle, some rather dreadful things happen that cause Jacob to head eastward and become an opium addict. Three years later, in "the Far East", Jacob becomes protector to a young Chinese King (Bill Su Jiahang) and his sister (Yifei Liu) who are on the run from their bloodthirsty brother (Andy On).

The details aren't very important to this film. It could have gone for a gritty, semi-realism like Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven (2005), but that would require research and avoiding clichés. For example, Jacob becomes an opium addict about three hundred years before the drug was used recreationally. For that matter, Jacob is in the Far East up to a hundred and fifty years too early. I'm not sure about mullets. That history is unknown to me. The budding feminism--or feminist serving dialogue--is also ludicrously out of date. Around this period, the Chinese began the practice of binding girls' feet. Not sure "Don't judge my life when you know nothing about being a woman" would have crossed anyone's lips at the time.

This isn't a subtle movie. Cage uses a gurgling British accent that borders on the ridiculous and the two snakes he has wrapped around his hands goes over the border into full-blown ridiculousness. Christensen does no harm to the film other than to speak James Dormer's dialogue. Nick Powell's direction is slick and vacuous. The film could generally be described in that way. If you like people fighting with swords, then Outcast will be sufficient for you.

Bonus features

Making-of featurette, interviews with Cage, Christensen, and Powell, and a trailer.

"Outcast" is on sale March 31, 2015 and is not rated. Action. Directed by Nick Powell. Written by James Dormer. Starring Hayden Christensen, Nicolas Cage.

Jason Ratigan • Staff Writer

A lawyer-turned-something-else with a strong appreciation for film and television.  He knows he can't read every great book ever written, but seeing every good movie ever made is absolutely doable.  Check out his other stuff on Wordpress.


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