Andy Summers’s review published on Letterboxd:
Nicolas Cage is something of an enigma. He goes from the sublime (Adaptation,Leaving Las Vegas) to the ridiculous (Bangkok Dangerous,Wicker Man) with consummate ease. Sometimes you just never know what you're gonna get.
When you mix Cage with Werner Herzog you know it will at least be interesting. With this film he gave a strong performance in a thrilling crime drama that had almost everything. From singing iguanas to smoking crack and assaulting old ladies, he really was "the bad lieutenant". Investigating a multiple murder, Terrence Mcdonagh (Cage), falls into a destructive path as his gambling and prescription drug intake spiral out of control. Having badly injured his back during Hurricane Katrina, Mcdonagh has started topping up his painkillers with whatever drugs he can get a hold of from cocaine to cannabis. Unstable, as is the Cage way, he fits the bill perfectly for the part of the manic and often irrational Mcdonagh. With his hooker girlfriend (the gorgeous Eva Mendes) and alcoholic father, he has his work cut out to lead a normal life. Add his unfortunate gambling issues and he has a cross to bear.
In the course of investigating the murders he runs into a host of colourful characters that are implicated in the crime. With some surreal moments of both violence and drug induced hallucinations, Herzog creates an almost hypnotic vibe that helps create Mcdonagh's crazy world. A complex plot involving drug dealing gangsters, bookies, goomba hoodlums, and a high powered businessman's asshole son, Cage has to juggle his priorities to stay ahead of the curve. Val Kilmer has an underused part as Mcdonagh's partner and Brad Dourif is his usual sleazy self as Mcdonagh's bookie. Comparisons with Abel Ferrara's similarly named violent predecessor were inevitable, but this is not a remake. Herzog has created a great little thriller and gave Cage the chance to show just what he can do with the right material.