A dirty cop investigates the assassination of the defense
secretary at a boxing match and uncovers a disturbing conspiracy.
Snake Eyes (1998)
Directed by Brian De Palma
Written by David Koepp
Starring Nicolas Cage, Gary Sinise, Carla Gugino,
John Heard, Stan Shaw, Kevin Dunn, Joel Fabiani
Snake Eyes sees Nicolas Cage playing a role he was born to play. A shady Atlantic City cop who wants to be everybody's friend, and steps up to the plate once he realizes what's at stake. We also get to see Gary Sinise once again play the role of the cop/soldier who is secretly the mastermind of the whole plot. You guys ever see Ransom? But I digress. Cage and Sinise have great chemistry as longtime friends turned enemies, and they both go a long way towards making this an entertaining watch. But when the film turns into a political thriller, it gets bogged down in generic filler that doesn't mesh with the dirty cop/fight night angle. It feels like two different movies.
Cage plays Detective Rick Santoro, a shady as hell Atlantic City cop who is willing to do whatever it takes to make a name for himself in his city. His best friend is Commander Kevin Dunne (Sinise), who is head of security for the Secretary of Defense, who is attending the championship boxing match. When he's assassinated, Santoro becomes lead detective and discovers Dunne is the mastermind, who is trying to fudge the results of a new missile test. It's not a great plot, but we get to see different characters' version of events a la Rashomon, so there's that.
I wouldn't list Snake Eyes among Cage's best work, but it's entertaining enough for the most part. Carla Gugino has a great role as the whistleblower who Dunne is after. My favorite part is how wacky Santoro is at times, and that's owed mostly to Cage. I just don't think shoving a political conspiracy was the best way to go.