Review: ‘The Retirement Plan’ (2023), starring Nicolas Cage, Ashley Greene, Ron Perlman, Jackie Earle Haley, Grace Byers, Ernie Hudson and Lynn Whitfield

September 19, 2023

by Carla Hay

Nicolas Cage in “The Retirement Plan” (Photo courtesy of Falling Forward Films)

“The Retirement Plan” (2023)

Directed by Tim Brown

Culture Representation: Taking place primarily in the Cayman Islands, the comedy action film “The Retirement Plan” has a white and African American cast of characters representing the working-class, and middle-class and wealthy.

Culture Clash: A seemingly mild-mannered retiree is really a former assassin for the U.S. government, and he has to rescue his granddaughter when she is kidnapped as part of an elaborate theft of a classified flash drive.

Culture Audience: “The Retirement Plan” will appeal primarily to people who are fans of star Nicolas Cage and Cage’s action movies that follow a familiar but tired formula.

Ronnie Hughes, Ashley Greene and Ron Perlman in “The Retirement Plan” (Photo courtesy of Falling Forward Films)

“The Retirement Plan” isn’t nearly as funny as it’s hyped up to be. Nicolas Cage portrays a world-weary ex-government assassin caught up in a hunt for a flash drive. He looks bored for at least half of this predictable action flick. Viewers will be bored too.

Written and directed by Tim Brown, “The Retirement Plan” certainly has a well-known cast that might attract viewers to this comedic action movie. However, the increasingly convoluted plot starts to wear thin, while the so-called jokes are very stale. If you think it’s hilarious to see Cage (or hs stunt double) running around in a bad wig in predictable chase and fight scenes, then “The Retirement Plan” might be your kind of movie.

“The Retirement Plan” has a story where several people are trying to get possession of the flash drive that has “powerful secrets” that can make people rich. The beginning of the movie shows three people stealing this flash drive and then getting shot at while making their getaway in a car. The three people are Ashley (played by Ashley Greene); her husband Jimmy (played by Jordan Johnson-Hinds); and Jimmy’s friend Mitch (played by Jerry Zavadlaw), who gets shot and dies as a result.

With Mitch dead, Ashley and Jimmy are now concerned for the safety of their daughter Sarah (played by Thalia Campbell), who’s about 11 or 12 years old. Jimmy tells Ashley to take Sarah to the Cayman Islands, where Ashley’s estranged, widower father Matt (played by Cage) is living as a retiree. “The Retirement Plan” was filmed on location in the Cayman Island. Jimmy is certain that no one will be looking for Ashley and Sarah in the Cayman Islands.

But there would be no “Retirement Plan” movie if Jimmy was right about Ashley and Sarah being safe in the Cayman Islands. A crime thug named Donnie (played by Jackie EarleHaley) is looking for the flash drive sends two of his goons—Bobo (played by Ron Perlman) and General (played by Ronnie Hughes)—to the Cayman Islands. Matt is about to get his life turned upside down.

Donnie has to answer to a crime boss named Hector Garcia (played by Grace Byers), who owns the flash drive and tells Donnie that Donnie has 24 hours to find the flash drive. And there are federal agents named Fitzsimmons (played by Joel David Moore) and Drisdale (played by Lynn Whitfield) who are also looking for the flash drive. Matt eventually finds out about the flash drive too. A running “joke” in the movie is that Matt is so behind-the-times, he keeps calling the flash drive a “disk.”

Ashley gets detained by Bobo and General on the way to the Cayman Islands, but Ashley anticipated this might happen and arranged for Sarah to take a separate plane trip by herself from Miami to the Cayman Islands. Sarah meets her grandfather Matt for the first time and has a lot of questions that he doesn’t really want to answer.

One thing that Sarah and Ashley eventually find out is that Matt is a former government assassin, who still has his combat skills. Predictably, Sarah gets kidnapped during this mess. Matt comes to the rescue and gets help from a pal named Joseph (played by Ernie Hudson), who also has combat skills. Many chase scenes and fight scenes ensue. The movie’s action scenes have slapstick tone that doesn’t work very well when the jokes in the movie fall flat. The acting performances in the movie are mostly unimpressive.

Most audiences already know that Cage has made a lot of bad movies in his career. “The Retirement Plan” isn’t the worst of Cage’s movies, because there are some moments in “The Retirement Plan” that can be considered entertaining to some viewers. However, these moments don’t add up to a completely enjoyable film. Instead on laughing at a lot of the intended comedy, many viewers will probably be cringing.

Falling Forward Films released “The Retirement Plan” in U.S. cinemas on September 15, 2023.

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