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Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (2009)


Average Rating: 7.3/10
Reviews Counted: 139
Fresh: 121
Rotten: 18

Critics Consensus: Befitting its unorthodox origins, this Bad Lieutenant benefits from Werner Herzog's typically fearless direction and a delightfully unhinged Nicolas Cage in the title role.

Average Rating: 7.4/10
Reviews Counted: 38
Fresh: 34
Rotten: 4

Critics Consensus: Befitting its unorthodox origins, this Bad Lieutenant benefits from Werner Herzog's typically fearless direction and a delightfully unhinged Nicolas Cage in the title role.


Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 53,155


Movie Info

Abel Ferrara's cult crime drama Bad Lieutenant is given a sister film with this Werner Herzog-helmed production that takes its inspiration from the original, but focuses on new characters and plotlines. Nicolas Cage steps into Harvey Keitel's mold of a corrupt and drug-addled police officer, with the scummy setting moving from New York City to New Orleans. Eva Mendes, Val Kilmer, and Xzibit co-star in the Nu Image/Millennium Films picture. ~ Jeremy Wheeler, Rovi

R (for drug use and language throughout, some violence and sexuality)
Mystery & Suspense , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
William M. Finkelstein
In Theaters:
Apr 6, 2010
Box Office:
First Look Pictures - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans

All Critics (142) | Top Critics (40) | Fresh (121) | Rotten (18) | DVD (8)

Is redemption possible for this bad lieutenant? At one point, he orders that a dead man be shot again because "his soul is still dancing." If you find God in that line, then welcome to your movie heaven.

Full Review… | February 2, 2011
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

In fusing European experimentalism and Hollywood boldness, Herzog has created a genuine oddity, a furious and unforgettable hybrid which may well prove to be 2010's most purely enjoyable moviegoing experience.

Full Review… | May 20, 2010
Time Out
Top Critic

Cage, who usually goes gonzo with gusto, underplays this monster. That spoils the fun.

Full Review… | December 30, 2009
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

Nicolas Cage is out of his mind in The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call -- New Orleans. And it's wonderful to see.

Full Review… | December 18, 2009
Detroit News
Top Critic

Nicolas Cage is so gleefully over-the-top as the troubled cop of the title that you will either be repulsed or fascinated by his performance and, since it lives or dies by it, the movie itself.

Full Review… | November 29, 2009
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

Herzog wades deep into the swampy funk of New Orleans, which in this post-Katrina setting might as well be an end-of-the-world movie. He's clearly turned on by [its] weirdness, the casual corruption, the gangsterism and the Southern Gothic outrageousnes.

Full Review… | February 17, 2014
Stop Smiling

This movie has no focus, no point of view and nothing to say. Is this a sendup? Is this an actual thriller? Is this just a look into the soul of a drug addict? I have no idea, and I don't think Werner Herzog knows either.

Full Review… | June 22, 2013

Sometimes a scene is a set up for a future plot twist, and sometimes Werner Herzog just wants to film some alligators. Who knows what'll happen? It's like filling your underpants with salamanders.

Full Review… | June 14, 2013

If Herzog had chosen realism over surrealism, this film would have been predictable and unentertaining. As it is, I found it oddly captivating. This is one weird movie.

Full Review… | July 26, 2011
Laramie Movie Scope

[Cage is] hilarious, scary, contorted, mournful, mean and weirdly, monstrously lovable -- the perfect actor to work with one of the world's most stubborn, bold, idiosyncratic filmmakers.

Full Review… | April 4, 2011

Nicolas Cage's deliriously unhinged portrayal of the film's titular bent cop ranks right up there with his most memorably off-kilter performances.

Full Review… | February 22, 2011
Movie Talk

Despite the snake slither-swimming through the bars of a flooded cellblock, the injured alligator and the iguanas that seem to be crooning Johnny Adams' 'Release Me,' star Nicolas Cage may be the most reptilian presence here...

Full Review… | December 30, 2010
Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

Perhaps it took a director as crazy as Werner Herzog to control (and ultimately unleash) the madness that exists within Cage ... they craft a character not unlike a modern day Daniel Plainview.

Full Review… | October 21, 2010

Bad Lieutenant, Bad!

Full Review… | September 28, 2010
3BlackChicks Review

There's a dark, dark humour throughout that keeps the film from plunging into over-the-top farce. In the end, BLT is a rambunctious, ridiculous feat of cinematic excess.

Full Review… | September 2, 2010

Any reservations that this is a straight forward remake of Abel Ferrara's hardcore Catholic redemption drama should be left on the wayside, for this Bad Lieutenant is a different monster all together.

Full Review… | July 12, 2010
Matt's Movie Reviews

Cage's Lieutenant McDonagh is a parody of not just the actor's own performances in recent years, but a gaudy exaggeration of every bad-cop cliché out there.

Full Review… | July 4, 2010

This will be remembered as one of Cage's finest performances. Maybe he has just needed the right director and in eccentric German genius Werner Herzog he's found him.

Full Review… | May 28, 2010
Sun Online

I'd rather rot in a New Orleans jail than watch it again. And yet its epiphanies are outrageously sharp, it is beautifully shot by cinematographer Peter Zeitlinger and the ending is a joy.

Full Review… | May 27, 2010
This is London

Becomes bizarrely comical as it gets increasingly depraved. But Herzog's deliberately bonkers approach, matched by Cage's hammy performance, is strangely entertaining.

Full Review… | May 27, 2010
Shadows on the Wall

Herzog has found a perfect partner in crime with Nicolas Cage.

Full Review… | May 24, 2010
Daily Express

For me, Ferrara and Keitel will always be the bad lieutenant, but Werner Herzog is probably the only director qualified to take this on, and his bizarre reboot has a fascination all of its own.

Full Review… | May 20, 2010

This thriller is among the cleverest, most innovative films of the year. It proves that even a mediocre, B-movie script can be made memorable by a strong director and brave leading actor.

Full Review… | May 20, 2010
Daily Mail [UK]

As a police procedural, it's a generally dull affair. As an exercise in silliness, it elicits a fair few laughs. But whether the joke's on Herzog or on us is anybody's guess.

Full Review… | May 20, 2010
Daily Mirror [UK]

Audience Reviews for Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans

Honestly, I wasn't sure what to expect, and I think Herzog would like that if he heard it. I've seen several of his previous movies, so I had an idea of sorts of maybe what to expect, but ultimately, I had no idea how things would pan out, or if I would like it or not. Like his other previous films, this is wild, offbeat, and totally in it's own little strange world.

It's part cop drama, part addiction story, and all character study. A washed up, sleazy, and corrupt drug addicted cop tackles the criminal underworld of New Orleans as well as his own demons, and, since Werner Herzog is in the director's chair, you know it will definitely have its idiosyncratic moments. It is maybe a tad too long and the pacing is a little too slow, but those are my only real complaints. This is Cage's movie through and through, and, for people who think he's washed up now, they need to go and see this movie. He is a master at playing creepy, weird, frazzled individuals who are too far gone. The rest of the cast is nice, but some of their performances are better than others. Xzibit turns in a surprisingly good performance. Under the right director, I think he could have a nice film career in his future.

This is a trippy, enjoyable and baffling (in a good way) movie that, while showing a more human side to the type of characters that Cage is playing, is so much more than just sleaze, and excess, but still shakes the audience up with it's unconventional approach to a story that in normal circumstances, is pretty standard and straightforward stuff.

Chris Weber

Super Reviewer


Wow, what a wild ride. Credit Werner Herzog for this one; able to unleash Nick Cage in a way we haven't seen since Leaving Las Vegas, Werner presents a surreal tale of a cop who not only falls from grace, but embraces the fall.

There's plenty of imagery to go with the story, and several times I wondered if the whole thing wasn't just a dream within a dream, but by the end you can see that Cage's "Bad Lieutenant" is living a double life - and that he prefers it that way, falling not just under the influence of drugs, but embracing the whole drug world - getting off on his power as a cop to coerce people into supplying his needs. He rides the Tiger - defying the odds and somehow, even though stoned out of his mind, manages either by luck or destiny, to bring down not one, but two drug rings. He rides this wave and survives because, as he stated several times during the film - he simply doesn't care one way or the other. If you do indeed truly embrace the void, Werner seems to be telling us, then nothing is impossible or unlikely.

Cage is so delightfully over the top, yet somehow you believe in all the histrionics and quirky mannerisms, whether this is because Werner presents the film partly through a drug filled haze where you aren't sure if what you're watching is real or part of Cage's imagination. The beauty of the film is that it doesn't supply an easy answer. It lays out the action and all its little twists and is so strong in its portrayal that both the happy ending and subsequent "real" one both seem sides of a surreal coin.

To say that Werner embraces a Lynchian sensibility in this film wouldn't be far wrong, only the narrative is far more cohesive and alluring than some of Lynch's later work. The surreal passages, from squirming river snakes to singing iguanas all set a tone and have a purpose beyond mere shock value, and are more accessible than Lynch's brand of surrealism.

This film isn't perfect, however I have to applaud Werner for taking what could have been another typical cop film and infusing it with a totally new direction. If you are expecting a morality tale here, then you will be disappointed, for there isn't one - and that's a beautiful thing; just as it's beautiful to watch a gifted director walk the tightrope between absurd and relevance.

paul sandberg

Super Reviewer

Ive tried watching this movie twice now and both times ive failed to finsh it! I found it to just be a really hard movie to get into!

Film Crazy

Super Reviewer


This movie shouldn't work, but it does. Playing out as some adults-only B-movie with a role Cage was born to play. I thought this film would be Herzog's downfall, but in the end it is his triumph.

Graham Jones
Graham Jones

Super Reviewer

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans Quotes

Terence McDonagh:
Shoot him again.
What for?
Terence McDonagh:
His soul is still dancing.
– Submitted by Jakob S (19 months ago)
Terence McDonagh:
Fucking iguanas.
– Submitted by Jakob S (19 months ago)
Dave Jacobs:
When you engage with another human being, we remind ourselves that we're not alone.
– Submitted by Dann M (2 years ago)
Terence McDonagh:
It's amazing how much you can get done when you've got a single purpose guiding you through life.
– Submitted by Dann M (2 years ago)
Terence McDonagh:
You don't have a lucky crack pipe?
– Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)
Terence McDonagh:
You think fish have dreams?
– Submitted by Chris P (3 years ago)

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