Terence McDonagh is a New Orleans police lieutenant whose drug addiction and resulting corruption leads to him walking a line between both sides of the law, trying to close a multiple murder investigation while staying alive and one step ahead of the dangerous criminals he becomes involved with. Terence McDonagh (Nicolas Cage) is a lieutenant in the New Orleans Police Department who badly injured his back six months ago when saving the life of a prisoner. His injury was serious enough that he was prescribed powerful painkillers to manage the pain, although this has since led to him becoming not only addicted to these painkillers but also turning to other drugs such as marijuana and cocaine – drugs he often shares with his prostitute girlfriend, Frankie (Eva Mendes), and which he often acquires via abuse of his police authority.
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When a group of illegal immigrants are murdered, McDonagh is assigned to the case. His investigation leads him to suspect the murders as being the work of local gang leader Big Fate (Xzibit). Meanwhile, McDonagh learns that Frankie has been assaulted by one of her clients, a man named Justin who McDonagh then steals thousands of dollars from.
McDonagh's behaviour becomes increasingly desperate and erratic as both his personal and professional lives begin to fall apart: the key witness in his murder investigation disappears, he owes a large sum of money to his bookie, and a gangster connected to Justin threatens McDonagh into paying him five times the amount of money that was stolen from Justin.
McDonagh is desperate enough for cash that he teams up with Big Fate, and eventually makes enough money to pay off the threatening gangster. However, violence erupts when the parties collide, Big Fate and his crew killing the gangster and his men. Later, at the crime scene where the illegal immigrants were killed, McDonagh plants evidence which will be enough to have Big Fate arrested for the crime. Afterwards, McDonagh receives a promotion to the rank of Captain.
One year later and Frankie is pregnant with McDonagh's child, while McDonagh is putting on a sober facade but isn't totally clean. McDonagh meets the prisoner whose life he saved eighteen months ago, the prisoner now sober himself. He offers to help McDonagh overcome his addictions.
Best part of story, including ending:
Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans is an interesting and entertaining combination of Werner Herzog's direction and Nicolas Cage's acting, a movie that is a more surreal and energetic take on the kind of "corrupt cop" story which has been played out in so many other films.
Best scene in story:
McDonagh has just watched Big Fate and his men kill the gangster who was threatening McDonagh. As the gangster lays dead on the floor, McDonagh says, "Shoot him again." When one of Big Fate's gunmen asks why, McDonagh replies, "His soul's still dancing", then bursts out laughing. The camera pans over to the dead gangster's "soul" - another actor dressed in the gangster's clothes - break-dancing while harmonica plays over the scene. It's a bizarre and brilliant scene that encapsulates the nature of the movie.
Opinion about the main character:
Nicolas Cage's acting is often criticised as being over-the-top and hammy, and even though his style of performance may not work for other roles, it is perfect for the role of McDonagh, Cage channelling all of his theatrical and wild-eyed energy into a very memorable performance that carries the movie.