Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 32
  2. Negative: 1 out of 32
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. A true feat of daring and one of the craziest films of the year.
  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. Reviewed by: Adam Smith
    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.
  6. Bad Lieutenant doesn't go where you expect, but it has a stubborn, trippy logic.
  7. It's tempting to forget that Cage is not Terence. That would be unfair though, and diminish the sheer ferocity of his performance.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 86 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 32
  2. Negative: 9 out of 32
  1. Nov 27, 2011
    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. I am interested in its character who nicholas Cage plays marvelously. Not to mention the iguanas. Overall great ride of a film Full Review »
  2. Nov 17, 2013
    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 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 »
  3. Aug 11, 2012
    To say Nicolas Cage is not my favourite actor would be an understatement. That said films like Con Air are a guilty pleasure of mine. Cage stars in Werner Herzog's 2009 film Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans. I haven't seen the 1992 film of the same name so I'm coming at this film from an original standpoint.

    Cage is Terrence McDonaugh, a lieutenant in the New Orleans police department with an ailing back, earned saving a prisoner during the Katrina floods, that has lead to a growing drug and gambling addiction. The story revolves around a murder investigation, however, the police work is only ever a long second to McDonaugh's spiral out of control. To say the wheels fall off as the story progresses would suggest they were even on in the first place. Cage is fantastic as the reckless, dishevelled, bug-eyed and hunched over addict on the slope to despair. It is definitely by favourite performance by the guy.

    Beating David Simon's Treme to the punch, post-Katrina New Orleans is an apt setting for the lawlessness and desperate nature of the film's main character.

    Although McDonaugh is certainly a bad lieutenant, snorting coke in front of a teenage witness and pulling the oxygen tube out of an elderly lady's nose while interrogating and verbally abusing her, most of his meltdowns and law-breaking come in pursuit of the drugs he needs and his police work remains largely on point.

    The film is maniacally amusing as McDonuagh loses control and coupled with Herzog's abstract direction and William Finkelstein's script, it almost becomes a black comedy. The stand out scene in Bad Lieutenant involves the camera cutting to two iguanas on a table (the iguanas being a hallucination of McDonaughs) where the camera stays watching McDonaugh (who stares back) and his team on a stakeout from the iguana point of view for over a minute with nothing but music playing. Surreal indeed.

    The supporting cast is strong and includes Eva Mendes, Michael Shannon (Boardwalk Empire), Val Kilmer and X-Zibit but there is only one bad lieutenant.

    An excellent film featuring a great performance from Nicholas Cage.
    Full Review »