A man drives down a dark, empty Louisiana street in an unmarked sedan. He spots a couple coming out of a nightclub heading toward the car. He flips on his red and blue lights and pulls up to the couple. The man flashes his badge and displays his Dirty Harry Magnum tucked in his pants as he asks the couple if they have cocaine on them. After some deliberation, he finally gets want he wants as the woman pull out her crack pipe and lights it for him. They begin to kiss, and before you know it, the situation escalates to sex on the hood of his sedan as the man forces the boyfriend to watch at gunpoint. This man is one of New Orleans’ finest. He also is the newly promoted it to Lt. Terence McDonagh (Nicolas Cage), and he is the epitome of police corruption, as well as every taxpayer’s worst nightmare in “Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans.”

But do not let this nervous, jittery legged junky who hallucinates about a pair of iguanas fool you, since he also happens to be the most dedicated and compassionate cop on the force. Even with the distractions of out-of-hand gambling on college football games and having a complicated friends-with-benefits relationship with a high-end prostitute (Eva Mendes), McDonagh’s ultimate mission is to find a ruthless murderer in the rundown neighborhoods of post-Katrina New Orleans.

In one of the most memorable and remarkable performance in his long career, Cage crafts a character that is uncontrolled, unpredictable and incredibly dangerous. He is a man without boundaries, who yells in the face of the district attorney and points a gun directly at a random old woman, telling her that she “is the reason for the problems in this country.” Cage embodies a cop who is reckless, unorthodox to say the least and, above all, determined to solve his case. And, with the addition of his strange Southern accent and spastic mannerisms, Cage unintentionally resembles the late, great Jimmy Stewart, making his dialogue and attempts to speak in ebonics even more humorous and outrageous.

New Orleans itself plays a fundamental role in the film, representing lawlessness and failure of a national government to aid in its recovery. Veteran director Werner Herzog paints a picture of a dilapidated setting impacted by a natural disaster appearing as a deserted urban wasteland unable to return to its original state. Dark, trash-filled streets on the lower west side of the city with tell-tale signs of water damage alongside the outer walls of the building signify the poorer areas where the scene of the family murders take place. The city is gray and destitute as Herzog creates a New Orleans never seen before on film, serving as a humbling reminder of its history.

Though completely departing from Abel Ferrara’s 1992 version, Herzog powerfully employs a devastated setting to emphasis the Wild West-like atmosphere that is replicated through Lt. McDonagh’s behavior. However, this absurd and insane story keeps the laughter flowing for a film unlike any other and supported by screenwriter William M. Finkelstein’s witty dialogue.