Brow Beat

Watch Military Courts, the Japanese Navy, and a Whole Bunch of Sharks Take on Nic Cage in the Trailer for USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage

If there’s one hard and fast rule in movies, it’s this: Never cross Nicolas Cage. Steal his plane, and he’ll strap you to an exploding fire truck. Steal his face, and he’ll wreak havoc on your marriage. Pursue him with all the powers of hell, and he’ll blow you to pieces. Even if you burn the man to death, it will be a hollow victory, because he’ll still make you and your movie look ridiculous. But apparently, the Japanese Navy, the U.S. military courts, and the sharks of the South Pacific don’t watch enough Nicolas Cage movies, because in the trailer for USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage, they all foolishly try to oppose the most unstoppable force in cinema history.


The film’s subject is the sinking of the USS Indianapolis on its way back from delivering the components for the Hiroshima atom bomb to Tinian Island. The surviving crew spent days in the water dying of exposure and being eaten by sharks. Cage plays Captain McVay; his co-stars are Tom Sizemore and Thomas Jane. The historical McVay was scapegoated and court-martialed after the ship sank, in a trial that included testimony from the Japanese submarine commander who sunk his ship. But judging from the trailer, in the film, directed by New Jack City’s Mario Van Peebles, the captain’s wiliest foe may just be the unconvincing computer-generated boats and planes.

Cage isn’t the first person to play McVay on screen: Stacy Keach took on the role in a 1991 made-for-TV movie called The Mission of the Shark. But as anyone who’s seen a Nicolas Cage performance knows, he’ll undoubtedly find a way to make it his own, even if the story is the kind of thing that works best as a monologue. Sharks beware!