Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call-New Orleans (2009)

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Released 20-Apr-2010

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Crime Main Menu Audio
Interviews-Cast & Crew
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2009
Running Time 116:46
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (71:21) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Werner Herzog

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Nicolas Cage
Val Kilmer
Eva Mendes
Jennifer Coolidge
Brad Dourif
Fairuza Balk
Case ?
RPI ? Music Mark Isham

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The original Bad Lieutenant is a unique film with its share of dedicated fans so it should have come as no surprise that negative Internet chatter amassed when this "sequel" was first announced without the involvement or blessing of the original film's star or director. Things seem only stranger still when you consider that the usual sequel motivations are simply nowhere to be seen. Bad Lieutenant is getting on to 20 years old, is not exactly at the centre of any resurgence in popularity, and is not really the sort of movie that calls out for a sequel even if it had been a blockbuster. The decision to make a sequel makes neither artistic nor commercial sense. Then again, half the fun of the original was its flagrant disregard for convention so perhaps there is some backwards sense to it all.

    The announcement that Werner Herzog would be sitting in the director's chair should have answered any question as to the producer's commercial aspirations, or rather lack of them, as nobody seems capable of selling his films no matter how well they are received critically or how marketable they are (case in point on both fronts being Rescue Dawn). Again with Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans, Herzog has produced a unique film that will likely be seen as a cult favourite in years to come but one that landed flatly at the box office internationally and went straight to DVD in Australia (like just about every low-medium budget film with a male target demographic seems to nowadays). Herzog’s own admission was that he was trying for a modern take on Film Noir. The result is quite unlike anything else out there - an edgy story that is strangely offset by a meandering narrative, that soaks up all the style of its rich New Orleans setting and engaging characters.

    Wisely, the film has no more than a broad thematic similarity to the original Bad Lieutenant. This particular tale follows a second-generation detective, Terrence McDonagh (Nic Cage), who is struggling to transition from the cowboy days of the past generation to the clean, accountable future that politics is demanding from the force. His recovering alcoholic father (Tom Bower) is still fondly remembered by McDonagh's superiors although he has a lot more in common with his still-alcoholic step mother (Jennifer Coolidge)

    A back injury received whilst reluctantly doing a good deed during Hurricane Katrina, the very act that led to his promotion to the rank of lieutenant, led McDonagh onto an addiction to painkillers. That addiction has in turn led him to an addiction to cocaine and just about anything else he can get his hands on in the evidence locker. Sharing his vices is his hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold girlfriend Frankie (Eva Mendes).

    Tracking down the culprit of the gangland-style slaying of a whole immigrant family, one of whom was suspected of muscling in on local drug dealer Big Fate's (Xzibit) turf, McDonagh starts to lose the tenuous grip he has on his sanity. He has trouble securing a witness who can testify to the obvious culprit, thanks as much to his violent partner (Val Kilmer) as to the fear of retribution. And as he gets closer to Big Fate's operation he gets drawn into the criminal life as a means of sorting out Frankie's problems as well as his steep gambling debts (owed to a very seedy Brad Dourif).

    It has been far too long since Nic Cage has really got his crazy on (Adaptation and The Weather Man were quirky, but not plain crazy). After cutting his teeth on indie classics that saw him bat-sh*t crazy, the likes of Wild at Heart and Leaving Las Vegas, Cage jumped into action fare that, save for a fun turn in Face Off, toned him down to suit a studio's typical drive for homogeneity. His excursions back to more dramatic fare time and again show that this is where he excels. Then again they probably won't pay the bills as quickly as another National Treasure sequel. Cage’s performance here, which sees him take on scenes portraying the influence of just about every drug under the sun whilst feigning lucidity (almost a "Fear and Loathing in New Orleans", only a tad more sinister), is a brilliant return to his roots. Perhaps not his best performance in the last decade but certainly his most interesting and arguably most entertaining. Herzog’s equally unhinged direction complements Cage’s performance perfectly.

     Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans is the sort of movie that few people are likely to see but countless filmmakers will borrow from in years to come. Though far from flawless, the movie is a minor classic and likely to find its share of die-hard fans amongst action-thriller fans who appreciate an artsy bent to proceedings.

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Transfer Quality


     The film is presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced. The image is a little softer than it should be throughout. The film tends to look reasonably good when it wants to and deliberately cheap and nasty at other times, as is mandated by different parts of the film. The film features a deliberately overexposed look and washed out colour palette, which is rendered consistently. There is a good level of shadow detail present.

     There is little sign of edge enhancement in the image and no sign of aliasing. Mild pixilation is occasionally noticeable but never a particular distraction. There is no sign of film artefacts.

     The film features English subtitles which appear to be accurate and well timed from the portion I sampled.

     This is a RSDL disc with the layer change occurring between scenes at 71:21.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


     The film features English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 Kbps) and 2.0 (224 Kbps) audio tracks, as well as an English Descriptive Audio Dolby Dolby Digital 2.0 (224 Kbps) audio track.

     The audio is generally quite clean and clear without being anything special. The dialogue is clear and easy to understand, appearing to be well synchronised throughout the film.

     The film features a gritty, jazzy come orchestral soundtrack by Mark Isham.

    There is moderate usage of the surrounds throughout, primarily for environmental effects. The subwoofer is rarely used. The overall sound field is reasonably effective in supporting the uneasy feel of much of the film.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Cast and Crew Interviews (45:49)

     Interviews with all manner of cast and crew; most notable are the lengthy interviews with Werner Herzog and Nic Cage which make up a bit more than half an hour of the running time. Herzog, in particular, gives a series of fascinating on-set and promotional interviews. Unfortunately, this featurette is presented as one big slab of video, rather than neatly broken into chunks with the various interview subjects.

Theatrical Trailer (1:59)

     It makes me laugh and cry all at once when DVDs include "theatrical" trailers for fare that found its way straight to DVD. This trailer does a good job of selling the edgy thriller aspect of the film. Shame nobody ever had the opportunity to see it at cinemas in Australia.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 edition of the film features what is billed as a "making of" documentary but is in fact a 31 minute subset of the 45 minutes of interviews on the Region 4 edition. Otherwise the two discs are virtually identical save for PAL/NTSC differences. Chalk this one up as a modest win for Region 4.


     Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans is definitely somewhat of an acquired taste but it is hard to argue that this original slant on the cop thriller genre is anything but a great movie.

     The video and audio are decent. The extras are clumsily assembled but worthwhile.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3, using HDMI output
DisplayOptoma HD20 Projector. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX2016AVS. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX2016AVS
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, 100W centre and 4 surround/rear speakers, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

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