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The Retirement Plan (2023) - Movie Review

Wrap up your summer with "The Retirement Plan," a compelling action-comedy starring the ever-engaging Nicolas Cage. On the surface, it may appear as a straightforward thriller, but delve deeper and it serves as a touching lesson on the powers of truth and forgiveness.

Nicolas Cage takes on a dual role as Matt Robbins and Jim Benton, depending on who's asking. The action takes off when his granddaughter Sarah, portrayed by Thalia Campbell of "A Million Little Things," shows up at his doorstep. Sharp-witted Sarah soon unravels the mystery of her grandfather's aliases, answering her own questions before Cage can get a word in.

Contrary to his doddering façade-perfectly enacted by Cage-Robbins/Benton is a retired but highly skilled government assassin. He bares his soul to Sarah, revealing his failures as a father and husband. He acknowledges that these missteps cost him the relationship with his daughter, Ashley (Ashley Greene of "The Twilight Saga").

Robbins gets a shot at redemption when Ashley lands at his door, flanked by henchmen from a criminal syndicate. A pivotal revelation changes Ashley's perception of her father, leading to a significant shift in their relationship.

The root of the danger facing Ashley and Sarah involves Ashley's husband, Jimmy (Jordan Johnson-Hinds of "The Endgame"). As a driver for a minor crime lord in Miami, Jimmy steals sensitive data, thinking it would be his ticket out of the underworld. He couldn't have been more wrong. Sarah ends up kidnapped as collateral for the coveted hard drive. Fortunately, Robbins’ specialty is discreetly neutralizing threats-something he executes with comedic flair.

The film boasts a well-balanced ensemble. The cast's performance feels genuine, save for an intentionally exaggerated stunt where Cage catches a gun. This offers a good dash of humor. Thalia Campbell, who plays Sarah, is particularly striking. She provides a fresh vibrancy that blends well with the adult actors around her.

Her interactions with her grandfather and Bobo, a character portrayed by Ron Perlman, are packed with wit and poignancy, somewhat echoing the iconic pairing of Natalie Portman and Jean Reno in "Léon: The Professional." Perlman's own transformation from a menacing kidnapper to a softer character adds another layer to the film.

"The Retirement Plan" subtly posits that politics lurk behind every life scenario, emphasizing that the quest for power is omnipresent. Of course, we can't spill all the beans-you’ll have to discover the finer details yourself.

If you're on the hunt for an exhilarating action film that offers both laughter and thought-provoking moments, "The Retirement Plan" is a must-watch. A lively, entertaining narrative coupled with strong performances makes it a winner.