Known in other territories under the name ‘Arsenal’, given the affiliations to a football team in the UK, instead this Steven C. Miller production is going by the name of Southern Fury. A shame, as this underwhelming production doesn’t live up to expectations, it’s easy to ridicule, and is a film that makes you thankful there are plenty other good productions out there to watch instead. Arsenal is a somewhat fitting title.

When growing up, JP (Adrian Grenier) always looked up to his older brother Mikey (Johnathon Schaech) – but now, the tables have turned, and while the former runs his own business and is happily married with a child, the latter is constantly in debt, resorting to selling drugs to make ends meet. As such, he remains closely affiliated with the nefarious crime boss Eddie King (Nicolas Cage), and between them they concoct a plan for Mikey to go missing, held at ransom, hoping that JP will pick up the cheque. Requiring the assistance of undercover law enforcer Sal (John Cusack), JP vies to get some money together to save his brother, despite the concerns that his sibling may well be in on the entire deal.

Southern FuryThis generic, surprised-it-has-a-theatrical-release endeavour abides faithfully, and affectionately to the tropes of the genre, eventually turning in to your archetypal revenge plot narrative. The film is brutal in its depiction of violence and not one for the faint-hearted, which is not usually an issue – but in this case it feels somewhat gratuitous in its implementation, vying stringently for shock value when acknowledging the holes and flaws in the narrative, hoping to make an impact in other ways and feeling contrived when doing so.

Thankfully, Nic Cage is on hand to make this watchable (and somewhat laughable) with an absurd wig, gigantic nose and handlebar moustache to boot. But he doesn’t need props or gimmicks to portray sheer lunacy, it’s a role he has become so competent at playing across the years, as he manages to display this vacancy behind his eyes, leaving the viewer always on edge as we’re dealing with a callous, volatile character you fear is capable of absolutely anything, and would have a fit of laughter in the process. Thing is, so are we – except it’s not always easy to judge whether or not it’s supposed to be intentional.

Southern Fury is released on February 24th.