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'Sorcerer's Apprentice' Or Acting Sellout?

Nicolas Cage stars in the "Sorcerer's Apprentice," a fantasy film that’s gotten some okay and some not sookay reviews since it came out earlier this week. Cage is working and there is something to be said for that, but I'm troubled that I haven't seen him acting lately. What do I mean?  Where he once did films that showed off his dramatic range, his career seems to have stalled and he’s choosing movies with a lot of explosions and CGI porn to make a living.

What happened? I thought he was great in “Adaptation.”  But that was the Nicolas Cage I would like to see more of, the actor I saw hints of in "Moonstruck." But his movies have been decidedly uneven artistically as of late, even if they include a few box-office hits.

Some have compared Cage to Christopher Walken and this does Walken a great disservice. Walken has a style of acting all his own; he has a distinct presence on the screen that has grown and evolved.  Cage’s fans take to his wild eyes and expressive face as his trademark, but certainly he has more to offer. Lately, he’s playing parts that any actor could do.  Cage keeps taking the quick easy check, and with rumors of his financialproblems, who could blame him.

Most of Cage’s recent films have been action pictures of one sort or another. But with his gangly frame, receding hairline and overdone sarcasm, he’s not a good action hero or villain. He doesn’t have that kind of swagger. It seems like the first time he went down this road was opposite John Travolta in the god-awful "Face/Off.” I didn't believe him as the evil psychopathic Castor Troy in that one, and I don't believe him as Balthazar Blake in “Apprentice.” I haven't believed him since he started playing these kinds of characters with "The Rock," co-starring Sean Connery back in 1996 . Connery was at a place in his career where he could cash in, and do little throw-away action movies with thin plots and well-timed clichés. Cage was never there, yet somehow he jumped into that genre with both feet and hasn't come up for air since. And I fear that will be his legacy.

Cage doesn’t have to do Othello, but he could give us better than "The Sorcerer's Apprentice."

Jimi Izrael is a freelance journalist for TheRoot.com, an author and a regular contributor to "Tell Me More."

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Jimi Izrael