NOW IN THEATERS! Tim Brown’s action thriller, The Retirement Plan, definitely falls in the category of a popcorn movie. It contained lots of action and lots of Nic Cage.
Ashley (Ashley Greene) and her husband, Jimmy (Jordan Johnson-Hinds), are in big trouble. Always looking for a big break in life, Jimmy steals a hard drive with valuable information that crime lord Donnie (Jackie Earle Haley) is sworn to protect. The problem is Donnie works for an even more dangerous mob boss, who in turn works for someone higher up, like real high. Realizing they’re in trouble, Ashley hides the hard drive in her daughter Sarah’s (Thalia Campbell) backpack and puts her on a plane to stay with her estranged father, Matt (Nicolas Cage). Or is it Jim?
Meanwhile, Ashley and Jimmy have been pinched by Donnie, who realizes that Sarah has the hard drive. He tells Ashley she will go with his goon Bobo (Ron Perlman) and retrieve it, or poor Jimmy dies. The problem for Donnie is that Matt (or Jim) once worked covert ops for the government, possesses a particular set of skills, and is owed a few favors from his former superiors.
Let’s be real, The Retirement Plan is a Nic Cage vehicle. We’re here to see Cage in action, and like everything else he does, this is a very different experience. The one thing that surprises you is that, unlike his characters in Con-Air, The Pig, Renfield, or Willy’s Wonderland, he plays the role pretty straight. It’s almost as if Cage actually possessed said skills.
“…Jimmy steals a hard drive with valuable information that crime lord Donnie is sworn to protect…”
The film is about family. Matt/Jim is a bit of a wisecracker, which plays into the fact that his character was a horrible dad. He needs to realize that he’s a grandfather now and that he was never around for Ashley all her life, which ultimately led her to a life of scams and other crimes. The soul of the film comes in Matt mending his relationship with Ashley, forging a very different one with Sarah, and protecting them at all costs.
Overall, The Retirement Plan is a comedic crime thriller. Not only is Cage a bit over the top, but also Jackie Earle Haley gives an aggressive performance as the crime boss with a temper problem. There’s nothing understated about Donnie at all. Perlman is the loveable hitman who forms a bond with Sarah (when he kidnaps her) — very reminiscent of the Baker.
This is an action film, meaning that’s where the fun lies. Cage gets to show off his special skills with unique bits of punctuation after each kill. There are plenty of chases, gun combat, and hand-to-hand fighting. The only disappointment you’ll feel is that everything is done for comedic effect. This is much lighter in tone than you probably want it to be.
With The Retirement Plan, we are not exactly changing the world. We’re buying the popcorn and going along for a very wild adventure. It’s a bit of a departure from what we expect from Nic Cage, but fun nonetheless.
"…This is an action film, and the fun is in the action."