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Prisoners of the Ghostland - Movie Review

Prisoners of the Ghostland

Testicles.  Who needs ‘em?  

While watching Prisoners of the Ghostland, it's best to - like the logic it usually requires to follow a normal film from beginning to its everlovin’ end - throw them both out the window.  Got your attention?  Good.  Love it or leave it, Prisoners of the Ghostland is one hell of a wild ride through a post-apocalyptic wild west setting as the NATIONAL TREASURE that is Nic Cage finds himself with a bomb fastened to his balls.

"goes all-in as a spectacle of cinematic cheese and grease"


If the premise sounds a bit like a callback to John Carpenter’s Escape From New York, you aren’t far off the mark here.  Hell, we even get some Mad Max visual references in the B-grade genre mash-up as Cage traverses a post-nuclear setting on a mission from God.  Sort of.

Prisoners of the Ghostland is full of all sorts of winks and nods to B-grade cult classics of a by-gone era as our "hero" (Cage), in Japanese auteur Sion Sono’s first English-language outing, finds himself on a NUTTY mission to rescue a Governor’s "daughter" from the savage territory of Ghostland, a mysterious place where outcasts and zombies keep a giant clock from operating out of fear of the whole SHITHOUSE going up in a cruel, world-ending big bang, baby if ever it should resume!

For the curious, the oh so very RIGHT ON cinematic pairing of Nic Cage with Japanese director Sono (Love Exposure, Tokyo Tribe) is full of all sorts of OUT OF THIS WORLD sequences as East meets West.  It’s to be expected and, most certainly, does not disappoint.  From its unusual local to its poetic use of children’s bouncing balls, the whole film spills out like colorful kool-aid does if tipped across a bright red picnic table.Prisoners of the Ghostland

If you haven’t had your taste buds challenged by either of the duo’s latest cinematic offerings, well, you best skip this tweaked out madness because, quite simply, you aren’t ready for what is about to go down when Governor (a very suspicious Bill Moseley, dressed in ALL WHITE) brings the nameless “Hero”, who is in prison for a bank robbery that wound up killing a kid, into a brothel called Samurai Town, has him wear a leather outfit, and orders him - with a little bomb-on-yer-balls encouragement - to get his “daughter”, Bernice (Sofia Boutella), free from Ghostland.

Hero’s preferred mode of transportation in the journey?  A woman’s bicycle, complete with a fancy basket.

For those of you genre hounds already in the know, Prisoners of the Ghostland, brought to you by the studio who gave us the awe-inspiring Mandy, is all sorts of GONZO GREATNESS and, yes, this includes a fully unrestrained Cage who, surprising no one, manages to lead an uprising of trash-wearing psychos while cranking his wild-ass performance up to a solid 11 on the dial.  There might be little point in the uprising of trash, but - hey - that’s part of this journey as he comes face to face with the true BADDIES in this flick..

Co-starring Tak Sakaguchi and featuring his stunning fight skills with the blade, Prisoners of the Ghostland goes all-in as a spectacle of cinematic cheese and grease.  It’s fun, kooky as hell, and remains - even in its basic B-grade moments - a special breed of lunacy that only the combination of Cage and Sono in a samurai-themed western could ever give birth to.  

Prisoners of the Ghostland is now playing in theaters and streaming on select platforms.

4/5 stars

Film Details

Prisoners of the Ghostland

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
103 mins
: Sion Sono
Aaron Hendry; Reza Sixo Safai
Nicolas Cage; Sofia Boutella; Nick Cassavetes
: Action | Horror
Thewildest movie I've ever made - Nic Cage.
Memorable Movie Quote: "I'm not vermin."
Patriot Pictures
Official Site:
Release Date:
September 17, 2021
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:

Synopsis: Set in the treacherous frontier city of Samurai Town where a ruthless bank robber is sprung from jail by wealthy warlord The Governor, whose adopted granddaughter Bernice has gone missing. The Governor offers the prisoner his freedom in exchange for retrieving the runaway. Strapped into a leather suit that will self-destruct within three days, the bandit sets off on a journey to find the young woman and his own path to redemption.


Prisoners of the Ghostland


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