Metascore
69

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 32
  2. Negative: 1 out of 32
  1. 100
    No one is better at this kind of performance than Nicolas Cage. He's a fearless actor. He doesn't care if you think he goes over the top. If a film calls for it, he will crawl to the top hand over hand with bleeding fingernails.
  2. Reviewed by: Adam Smith
    100
    An exhilarating riff on the cop-thriller drama by a director at the top of his game -- Herzog is also at his most accessible here -- powered by an incendiary performance from Nicolas Cage. A very bad lieutenant, then. And a bloody good film.
  3. Bad Lieutenant doesn't go where you expect, but it has a stubborn, trippy logic.
  4. The marvel of Cage's performance is that, somehow, it's all of a piece. That's the marvel of the movie, too. This is one fever dream you'll remember whole.
  5. 90
    Mr. Herzog’s film is a pulpy, glorious mess. Its maniacal unpredictability is such a blast that it reminds you just how tidy and dull most crime thrillers are these days.
  6. It's tempting to forget that Cage is not Terence. That would be unfair though, and diminish the sheer ferocity of his performance.
  7. A true feat of daring and one of the craziest films of the year.
  8. 88
    Frankly, the story isn’t remotely as interesting as Cage. Nothing is. In Ferrara’s movie, Keitel emptied himself out. But there’s a hellion’s joy in Cage’s cop.
  9. 83
    It’s not always easy to sort out the legitimately inspired touches from the merely campy ones, but the film has a deranged, go-for-broke spirit that makes such distinctions irrelevant.
  10. 80
    Herzog deserves the lion's share of the credit for the movie's quality, but Port of Call New Orleans is also a comeback for Cage.
  11. The sparkle is what's been missing in the star's (Cage) recent performances. What's not to love in a movie that transmutes Terence's moral squalor, and the squalid state of post-Katrina New Orleans, into darkly comic gold?
  12. 80
    Less like a movie than an interpretive-dance piece, with Cage as its lurching, depressed-satyr star.
  13. Reviewed by: Jessica Baxter
    80
    Nicolas Cage is a joy to watch, and Werner Herzog is a brilliant storyteller.
  14. It's that constant weirdness, coupled with Nicolas Cage's best performance in pretty much forever, that makes this depraved, sexually charged, over-the-top drama so much fun to watch.
  15. 75
    For filmgoers whose tastes run to pulp genre frissons, auteurist brio and Nicolas Cage at his most luridly over-the-top, Bad Lieutenant scores a kind of freaky-deaky home run.
  16. Surprisingly funny yarn about a drug-addled cop in the Big Easy.
  17. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    75
    It's a maniacal performance, complete with mad gales of laughter and insane bouts of temper. Cage doesn't go over the top, but he teeters darn close.
  18. A one-of-a-kind experience that boasts a twice-in-a-lifetime performance from Nicolas Cage. The actor has not gone this deep into the abyss since "Vampire's Kiss" (1989).
  19. The result is a deliriously watchable and darkly comic portrait of a high-velocity death spiral.
  20. There is a lot of very black humor; and it develops, somewhat surprisingly, into something suggesting a kind of cheerful pessimism.
  21. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    70
    This movie is a freaky little swamp thing.
  22. This is the best performance Cage has delivered in ages, and Herzog demonstrates, once again, that he is capable of virtually anything.
  23. 63
    Comparisons to the original Bad Lieutenant are unnecessary; Port of Call New Orleans can stand - and fall - on its own merits, inconsistent though they may be.
  24. 63
    Any resemblance between this Bad Lieutenant and the 1992 Abel Ferrara landmark is purely in the head of the dude who thought up the title.
  25. 63
    There can only ever be one Bad Lieutenant: Harvey Keitel. In Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, Nicolas Cage, pretend tough guy (Malibu accent, long floppy coiffure, nervous smile), is more like the Bad Used-Car Salesman.
  26. Cage is not quite Aguirre or Fitzcarraldo in the Big Easy. But his performance hits all the right mythopoetic beats, rising above the thin script and late-night-cable aesthetic.
  27. Reviewed by: Mark Salisbury
    50
    Those expecting a return to the depravity and menace of Abel Ferrara’s 1992 notorious original will be disappointed.
  28. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    50
    The film is offbeat, silly, disarming and loopy all at the same time, and viewers will decide to ride with that or just give up on it, according to mood and disposition.
  29. If there’s a sure thing in movies, it’s that if you cast Nicolas Cage in a role in which he goes crazy, he’ll rise to the occasion and keep on rising until he seems even loonier than his character.
  30. 50
    Instead of plumbing the depths of spiritual degradation, Herzog's movie is--largely due to Cage's performance--almost fun.
  31. 50
    The movie is a mess, but it’s certainly not dull.
  32. The film is an exasperating bore.
User Score
6.7

Generally favorable reviews- based on 95 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 32
  2. Negative: 9 out of 32
  1. MichaelJ
    Mar 25, 2010
    10
    Excellent. DO NOT MISS. For yourself, see a movie worth its salt. Maybe the best, certainly the most underrated cinema of 2009. Anyone who Excellent. DO NOT MISS. For yourself, see a movie worth its salt. Maybe the best, certainly the most underrated cinema of 2009. Anyone who doesn't think so, doesn't really like movies, maybe coffee table books are more their thing. Full Review »
  2. Nov 27, 2011
    8
    Bad Lieutenant is a movie that you either get and like or dont and hate. I got it. Some may be disapointed by the story and its weirdness. IBad Lieutenant is a movie that you either get and like or dont and hate. I got it. Some may be disapointed by the story and its weirdness. I am interested in its character who nicholas Cage plays marvelously. Not to mention the iguanas. Overall great ride of a film Full Review »
  3. Nov 17, 2013
    3
    Nicolas Cage is by far one of my favorite actors, because even in a bad movie like this one, he gives everything he's got. The man is pureNicolas Cage is by far one of my favorite actors, because even in a bad movie like this one, he gives everything he's got. The man is pure intensity and believable in any role. That's why I get so frustrated when he wastes his time on a bad movie like this one. I never saw the first Bad Lieutenant film, but this one was presented as a dark drama, centered around the murder of an immigrant family, but that really wasn't the focus of this film. Port of Call New Orleans focuses on a cop who was injured in the line of duty. As a result of severe pain, he turns to drugs and to using any means necessary to obtain those drugs. If I were the writer of a film like this, I would have made it a comedy and the cop would be completely outrageous and over the top. There were a lot of scenes that could have been made really enjoyable with a little bit of comedy, but they didn't do that. This is a slow moving film, about a mess of a man doing up things. There really is no point to the whole thing and it is more than somewhat hard to follow. A good measure of a movie is how long does the film actually feel. Bad Lieutenant was 2 hours, but easily felt like 8. The beginning is kind of interesting, and while I was beyond bored, I had to stick it out to see what happened, I'm sorry I did. Cage is fantastic as usual and the film makers had all the tools needed to make this an amazing film. Instead, they were lazy and dropped this giant turd on us, that is nothing more than a confusing waste of time. Full Review »