Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans

Sponging up hard drugs in the bleary post-Katrina Big Easy, Nicolas Cage stoops and glowers and howls his way through director Werner Herzog’s odd, loony, unboring, reptile-intensive policier, which should not be considered a remake of Abel Ferrara’s ferocious 1992 Harvey Keitel vehicle, if only because this one actually wants to be laughable. And it gets what it wants, in its Herzogian way; as concerns humor, few would say the Teutonic touch is feather-light. It also should be pointed out that screenwriter William Finkelstein was among the creators of the misbegotten 1990 TV experience known as Cop Rock. But these facts, plus Eva Mendes as Cage’s hooker girlfriend, Xzibit as his crack-dealer opponent and Val Kilmer as his police partner, combine into some strange new kind of cult-ready sensation. Like the alligators and iguanas whose points of view it randomly surveys, the movie derives much power and fascination from its own scaly primitivism.