Lifted out of the 1-star category of "bucket of rotten gator feed" just because of something or other I can't put my finger on. Not the camera-play / iguanas. Woeful in comparison to Carl Hiaasan's best novels, or David Lynch's average filmf. No humour, no characters to care for, some embarrassing attempts at depth or concern for the horribleness of the film's context. Stupid action, stupid plot, Teflon protagonist.
3.5 stars. A wild ride and even an edifyin' one what with the spoon monologue! Pretty fruity and unhinged and even tawdry in places. A healthy appreciation for cinematic chaos. Herzog knows how to shoot Nic's mask-like face. He is almost monstrous here. A cartoon Kinski (and appropriately so!) He appreciates that Cage is foremost a performer not an actor.
Bad Lieutenants magnetism is in its disarray, both in characters and plot. Nicholas Cage is an interesting cast as the drug addicted lieutenant who shifts from crack smoking whack to ace cop on a whim. Herzog never seems content with humans as his star - oft time opting for symbolic shifts to reptiles creating a seeming satire of American race relations and government. The film succeeds as much as it confuses.
(...) Cages Cop Terence McDonagh wandelt durch die nächtlichen Strassen von New Orleans, ohne auch nur den leisesten Versuch, hier etwas zu beaufsichtigen. Es geht ihm einzig darum, sich selbst zu schützen. Er ist das Gesetz und das Gesetz dient nur ihm selbst(...)
Why does Cage's accent change? Why does Herzog do Agatha Christie and back again? Why do fish have dreams? Probably for the same reason Cage doesn't kill Xzibit at the end, and the same reason souls dance. You just have to love people as much as Herzog does, or you'll go insane.