Initially, I thought that Stolen was below the standard befitting the star quality that is Nicolas Cage but Cage has been at this for some time now: B-movies like Bangkok Dangerous and Drive Angry seem more suited to the likes of Seagal or Cena. That's the level of this uninspired actioner from Con Air and The Expendables 2 director Simon West.
While Nicolas Cage waits patiently to break into a bank, Stolen works overtime to get you to like his master thief. He knows about Care Bears (a good dad), is a fan of Creedence Clearwater Revival (like all decent Americans are), he sticks to the retrieving the cash that he and his crew (including Lucas and Akerman) came for and not the gold in the vault (not greedy, professional). What's more, he isn't willing to hurt the bank janitor that stands in their way (morals). Lucas is the dark opposite so when Cage puts a bullet in his leg to stop him killing the janitor, Lucas vows revenge.
Eight years later, after Cage is released from prison, a psychopathic Lucas (now reduced to one leg after Cage's shooting) puts his revenge plan into action: he kidnaps Cage's daughter (Sami Gayle) with the promise that if Cage doesn't hand over the cash from their last ill-fated job, he'll kill her. Cue a breathless chase around New Orleans during Mardi Gras with Danny Huston's FBI agent keeping tabs.
I hate to blame writers for these things; David Guggenheim has the competent Safe House on his CV and I doubt he had a going-through-the-motions Cage and a surfer-with-a-hangover Lucas in mind when he wrote this script. That said, it's hard to forgive lines like "(Lucas) is numb, numb like a statue. He blames you for the leg. And for the numb." Oh dear.
It's also hard to forgive the lack of tension on show. West gives you absolute zero chance of getting caught up in it all, which would be fine if Cage and co. were having a laugh in a Taken parody, which Stolen owes more than a depth of gratitude to for inspiration. They're not, though; they're playing it straight.
An uninspired Taken rip off, Stolen may garner some guilty chuckles at the daftness of it all.