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Release Date: September 17th, 2021 Movie Release Year: 2021

Prisoners Of The Ghostland - Theatrical Review

Overview -

Cinema doesn't get any wilder than Sion Sono's latest feature film Prisoners Of The Ghostland blending different genres into one action-packed, zany thrill ride with a leather-wrapped Nicolas Cage front and center. This story of a man who is set on a rescue mission explores many themes of life, death, and time - but with an added bonus of zombies, ghosts, cowboys, samurai fights, and more that is for sure to be an instant cult classic for decades to come. With some dynamite performances, a highly stylized backdrop of a nuclear wasteland, and an impressive score, Prisoners Of The Ghostland knocks it out of the park for being something purely original and highly entertaining. Highly Recommended!

Watch Prisoners of the Ghostland on Amazon Prime Video or Order Your Tickets From Fandango 


Highly Recommended
Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Release Date:
September 17th, 2021

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take


Nicolas Cage has been on a huge role this year with his horror-action flick Willy's Wonderland where he spoke zero lines of dialogue. This was followed by the award-worthy, subdued revenge flick Pig. And now, Cage goes over-the-top in the fantastic Prisoners Of The Ghostland, and he shows no signs of stopping here. Sion Sono is an iconic Japanese filmmaker, and this film marks his first English-language feature debut so that the western audience can get a glimpse of the brilliance of Sono's style. Not only does Sono implore an excellent visual prism of colors and chaotic characters, but he dives deep down into these people's psyches, making them the perfect anti-heroes to root for. 

That brings the story to focus on Hero (Cage), who in the first sequence, is seen robbing a bank with a tall, scary-looking partner. Things are going well for the two, but a gunfight ensues and it looks like a ton of bank patrons bite the dust, including a small, child. This sequence has the boldest and brightest colors, that look almost like it's taking place inside a fantasy world. The film cuts to many years later where Hero has been chained up in this town in Japan that has been quarantined after a nuclear accident decimated life in the surrounding areas. This place called Samurai town mixes the old west with a Las Vegas-like style that is run by the Governor (Bill Moseley from The Devil's Rejects and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2), who is dressed head to toe in a white suit and oversized cowboy hat, complete with blood-red leather gloves.

The Governor has "adopted" many young girls as his stepdaughters, all of whom are forced to be his personal sex slaves. One of these girls by the name of Bernice (Sofia Boutella of Climax) escaped her imprisonment resulting in the Governor forcing Hero to bring her back. There's a big caveat though, Hero must wear a leather onesie full of explosive devices that will explode if he deviates from the plan. It's a ball-busting situation, both literally and figuratively. From here, Sono explores the duality of Hero's personality as he struggles to do the right thing and live his life in the criminal world once again. Hero is constantly reminded through flashbacks of that fateful bank robbery that landed him in prison, that over the course of the film, delivers crumbs of clues as to what exactly happened that led to the nuclear accident. 

Cage is as clever and amazing as ever here in this role, having some quieter intense moments, along with those famous, wild freakouts. His character is something of a legend, as he gets into a Toyota Celica vehicle, abandons it after doing a donut on the road for a child's bicycle, complete with a wicker basket. It doesn't get much better than this and goes to show just how fun this film is. It's evident that Sono was influenced by old westerns and samurai flicks as he merged the two genres together with this film, but he also winks at Mad Max and Army Of Darkness in the best ways. One way is that Bruce Campbell's Ash and Nic Cage's Hero share a certain modified appendage, which is ever so sweet. Joe Trapanese's score balances the western style of music while adding in a more modern approach as well.


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Final Thoughts

Prisoners Of The Ghostland is one of those rare films that needs to be seen to be believed that it exists. It's full of high-voltage entertainment, action, and Nic Cage's greatness. Highly Recommended! 

Watch Prisoners of the Ghostland on Amazon Prime Video or Order Your Tickets From Fandango