The Retirement Plan (2023)

Director: Tim Brown

Running Time: 103 Minutes

Certificate: 15

Starring: Nicolas Cage, Ashley Greene, Thalia Campbell, Jackie Earle Haley, Ron Perlman, Ernie Hudson, Grace Byers, Lynn Whitfield, Joel David Moore

Desperately needing to escape Miami after being caught up in a criminal enterprise, Ashley (Ashley Greene) and her young daughter Sarah (Thalia Campbell) find their lives at risk over a stolen drive. The only person that can help is Matt (Nicolas Cage), Ashley's estranged father who has retired to the Cayman Islands. As this family reunite and become entangled within a dangerous web, it becomes clear that Matt has a secret past which Ashley knew nothing about.

Writer/Director Tim Brown crafts a story which aims to offer healing between a fractured family, as Ashley grows to understand the man who felt absent to her and discovers he is not who she expected. This could have been an impactful emotional core for this story, yet such a thing is difficult when the overall work feels so half-hearted. From forced dialogue to Cage's dreadful wig, it all feels like a facade to cover up that this film is about getting a name cast together to hang out.

From hinting at lingering problems within the central father/daughter relationship, to conflicted hitman Bobo (Ron Perlman) threatening Ashley's life, the attempts to raise tensions feel too perfunctory to land. There is no sense of an actual threat to the lead characters, making it all feel tiresome. For a story containing much action, subterfuge, and double crossing, none of it feels natural to the narrative. Instead, these elements are inclusions which feel forced into the plot without knowing how else to progress things, or even how to make these elements quicken one's pulse.

Brown includes some strange directorial flourishes, such as colourful titles introducing characters which contrasts the bland titles which fill the screen to introduce locations - a trait used multiple times for "Miami." These inclusions resemble a low-budget attempt at a comic-book movie, although it cannot distract from how artificial this film looks, especially with the locations. What remains is a lacklustre piece of dadsploitation which feels like an excuse for the cast and crew to have fun in each other's company, unaware of how to replicate such fun for anybody watching.

The Retirement Plan is now available on Digital Platforms