The Retirement Plan Review
The Retirement Plan (2023) Film Review, a movie written and directed by Tim Brown and starring Nicolas Cage, Ashley Greene, Ron Perlman, Jackie Earle Haley, Ernie Hudson, Joel David Moore, Grace Byers, Lynn Whitfield, Rick Fox, Jordan Johnson-Hinds, Jon Ambrose, Dax Ravina, Samantha Kaine, Ronnie James Hughes, Amber Ashley Smith, Adam Moryto, John Thomas Gauthier and Thalia Campbell.
Tim Brown has fashioned an entertaining action picture called The Retirement Plan which stars Nicolas Cage as a grandfather who reunites with his family under very stressful circumstances. Cage made The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent last year which was decent and The Retirement Plan is cut from the same action movie cloth as that movie but without all the inside jokes about Cage’s movie career. Cage, with his shaggy grey hair, is back in action hero mode as a beach bum from the Cayman Islands named Matt who gets to know his daughter, Ashley (Ashley Greene), again as some villains are searching for a flash drive which has been placed in Matt’s granddaughter, Sarah (Thalia Campbell)’s backpack by Ashley.
This film opens with a pretty disturbing scene where Ashley’s husband burns up a car and a dead body to try to escape a crime boss named Donnie (Jackie Earle Haley) who is pursuing the aforementioned flash drive. Ashley puts Sarah on a plane to go to the Cayman Islands to see Matt who will keep her safe in the interim. Sarah worries about her schoolwork and is eagerly anticipating discussing Othello in class so Ashley puts the book in her schoolbag to take with her. However, almost immediately, Ashley is captured by Donnie and his goons (which showcases a character called Bobo, played by Ron Perlman). Soon, the bad guys are in hot pursuit of Sarah until Matt ends up trying to do anything and everything to protect her from harm.
Cage is backed up here by a fine cast. Ashley Greene carries a lot of the weight of the movie as the character the audience wants to relate to throughout. She and Cage share some great scenes together while he tries to help her escape some wild situations. One scene, in particular, has Ashley hanging off a balcony (she’s afraid of heights) as the goons of the movie are just about to break down the door and come after her. It turns out that Matt has a secret past which may be more interesting to viewers if I don’t dig too much into it in this review.
Jackie Earle Haley has some funny, over-the-top moments where he expresses how much he needs to get his hands on that pesky flash drive and find it at any cost. Haley is also totally insane in this performance and gives it a lot of energy which has been typical in previous Haley performances as well. Perlman is especially capable in his role as well, adding the actor’s signature charisma to his sidekick role as Bobo.
Ernie Hudson also has a supporting role as one of Matt’s friends in the movie who becomes immersed in the story line as the action progresses. Hudson has consistently proven to be one of our most charismatic supporting players and has a few really good scenes here. Besides him, Thalia Campbell is also winning as the young Sarah who gets some moments to bond with her grandfather as well before (and throughout) the action-packed scenes that transpire through the picture.
There are also some supporting performances which, while well-acted, seem to be overkill. There’s nothing wrong with Lynn Whitfield’s turn as a detective character who plays a pivotal plot point in the movie but one wonders if her character doesn’t detract from the substance of the family bond that is portrayed in the film. I’d rather have seen Cage and Greene have some more scenes together but, unfortunately, the plot is so overstuffed that it becomes a complex action hero movie more than a character-driven picture. Having said that, though, the film is still very entertaining to watch with one well done action sequence after another holding viewers’ attention all the way through. The chase scenes are particularly effective and suspenseful.
Nobody does an action role like Cage does. He’s compelling and charismatic in his role and the film won’t disappoint die-hard Cage fans. The movie comes down to a scenario where Cage’s Matt must flee the scene at the conclusion or stay. This ending leaves the door wide open for a sequel which may not happen but, if it did, it would certainly be fun to see what happens after the end credits roll.
The Retirement Plan is an assured and confident action picture that moves at a breakneck pace, only occasionally stopping for plot developing conversations in scenes that are well directed by Brown. How much you enjoy the new picture depends on how big a Cage fan you are. You can determine how well you would like this film by picturing The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent played as a straight action picture without all the inside jokes. This new film is, nevertheless, still one of Cage’s better recent efforts lately.
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