A powerful action thriller, ARSENAL tells the intertwining stories of the Lindel brothers, Mikey (Johnathon Schaech) and JP (Adrian Grenier), who had only each other to rely on growing up. As adults, JP found success as the owner of a construction company, while Mikey became a small-time mobster, mired in a life of petty crime. When Mikey is kidnapped and held for a ransom by ruthless crime boss Eddie King (Nicolas Cage), JP turns to the brothers’ old pal Sal (John Cusack), a plain clothes detective for help. In order to rescue his brother, JP must risk everything and unleash his vengeance against King’s relentless army of gangsters.
I found Arsenal on Tubi the other day. I had previously passed over it numerous times while browsing because I did not realize that Nicolas Cage was in it. I finally gave it my full attention today after starting it and shutting it off about 20 minutes in, a few days ago. Arsenal is about two brothers on separate paths in life and how the older brother’s life of crime catches up to him when a low level crime boss in Bilouxi, Mississippi decides to collect on a debt.
This is a solid film about Mikey, who has up until JP grows up and becomes a business owner, taken care of his younger brother, only this time it’s JP who has to take care of him. Mikey is trying to make ends meet and takes 10 grand from JP and attempts to flip it into 20 grand by buying some cocaine. Unfortunately, it gets stolen from him and while out on the town after a bad night at his brother’s house, Mikey is kidnapped by Eddie King, here played brilliantly by Nicolas Cage.
Nicolas Cage is a coked out toupee sporting scum bag with a penchant for violence named Eddie King in this film. He also happens to be my favorite part of it. Nicolas Cage plays this character as a beautifully broken and twisted human. We first meet King when Mikey is a kid. Mikey comes across him in the back of the arcade he frequents after his uncle kills himself. King is working over someone who couldn’t keep quiet, and ultimately ends his life by placing a pipe in the guy’s mouth and driving it through the back of his head with a baseball bat. This really sets the tone for what kind of person King is.
I don’t think there is nearly enough Eddie King in this movie but I am being pretty biased here being a fanatic for anything Cage related. I would like to see him unravel a little more than just the bit we see. When his brother comes to town because Eddie is getting a little too cavalier with his criminal activities, Eddie is forced to kill his brother before he can kill him. Seeing him lose his cool and beat his brother to death was a thing of insanity. I’ve never seen that much red in a beating before. Eddie also reads a note that he was writing to his brother to Mikey in one of the most poignantly unhinged moments in the film.
Cage is hardly in this film but for the time he is in it, he adds an element that elevates the rest of it to a height I wouldn’t have expected. If you want to see Cage in wild makeup, a fake nose, a toupee, and the oddest black mustache I’ve seen a criminal sport, you owe it to yourself to check out this movie which currently is streaming free on Tubi with ads.