Outcast is one of those Nicolas Cage movies which looks like such a half-assed effort it could only be entertaining. The casting of Hayden Christensen as his co-star and yet another ghastly-looking, misleading poster covered in fire being further proof of this.
It also seems odd that Cage would take on yet another Crusader flick so soon after Season Of The Witch but heck, why not? It's not like it's an overdone subgenre. Besides, Season Of The Witch was more of a fantasy film and Outcast is like a Zhang Yimou epic minus the budget, the battle scenes or the talent. The plot follows a Chinese prince and his sister, who escape when the prince's warrior brother kills the King. They meet a Crusader-turned-drunk (Christensen) and he helps them take back the throne. On the way (read: an hour into the movie), they meet an old pal of Christensen's (Cage) who also deserted the Crusades.
Of course, everyone in China speaks perfect English all the time, even to each other, and the way the story develops is about as predictable as it goes. To say Outcast is full of clichés is an understatement: there's literally nothing new here and you'll find yourself regretting sitting through it within the first half hour. That said, the film itself boasts some nice locations, decent enough effects and a Nicolas Cage on top form.
The man effortlessly steals the show, even in the short time he's actually on-screen, as he shows up looking like Alice Cooper with a lazy eye, handfuls of snake, the worst British accent you've ever heard in your life and that goofy laugh he shared with us without restrain back when he starred in Bad Lieutenant. It's a hilarious, pure Cage performance where he completely trolls the movie but has such a great time doing it, he actually makes it worth it. I know you'll be tempted to give up on Outcast early on but stick around and The Cage will reward you with one of the (spoilers) most amusing death scenes you've seen in a while.
The whole prince vs prince plot kinda comes out of nowhere and the actors involved in that aspect of the story are as earnest as they could possibly be, which doesn't gel at all with Cage's goofing around. A further distraction is Christensen who proves that not only can he not act drunk to save his life but he can't do accents... or emotions. He's good at wielding a sword, though.
Outcast is in no way a must-see and it's pretty boring at times but if you're a Nicolas Cage fan, I do suggest you check it out as it won't disappoint by the time they finally get to his scenes.
If only the film had been all Cage scenes...