It’s almost a real-life running joke that the movies Nicolas Cage churns out these days at an improbably swift rate are incredibly hit and miss, but one of the more enjoyable of his recent litany of efforts, sci-fi action flick Jiu Jitsu, arrives on Netflix later this week (March 20th).
The story follows an amnesiac soldier attempting to discover who he is, and is ultimately revealed to be one of the current generation of warriors tasked with defending Earth from a band of destructive alien invaders by using their extensive martial arts skills. The powerful leader of the extraterrestrial interlopers wields advanced weaponry to hunt his opponents and anyone else who gets in the way, while the details of how victory can be attained are gradually revealed. It’s just as demented as that sounds, and if you think the description makes the film seem like something akin to Mortal Kombat by way of Predator, you would be exactly right.
Cage comes into it as Wylie, the mentor of the fighters who’s also dealing with his own past of previous battles with the alien menace, and to extend the above comparison, he plays the Raiden role, while also displaying the same kind of batty unpredictability exhibited by Yoda in The Empire Strikes Back after his extended period of isolation on Dagobah.
People might mock the histrionics of the utter nonsense that contemporary Nicolas Cage stars in (and will likely continue to do so until his financial predicaments are dealt with), but in Jiu Jitsu, it’s also apparent just how few actors have the capability of not only convincingly delivering the kind of preposterous dialogue his performance requires, but also sounding completely sincere while doing so.