At first glance, Arsenal looks like your average bonkers Nicolas Cage movie, if not slightly more emphatic than usual. But don’t let yourself be distracted by John Cusack’s do-rag and the sudden realization that Jonathon Schaech still exists — those things have been placed in the trailer to intentionally mislead you, for any true Cage fan will certainly recognize that Arsenal is not some basic VOD Cage Gone Wild experience; it is almost definitely a not-so-unofficial sequel to Cage’s forgotten 1993 film, Deadfall.

UPDATE: Editor-in-Chief Matt Singer reached out to director Steven C. Miller on Twitter and asked him, directly, if Arsenal is in fact a sequel to Deadfall. Here is his answer:

Not only that, but Arsenal features Deadfall director — and Cage’s brother — Christopher Coppola in a supporting role. Holy crap.

Original story continues below…

You may not recall Deadfall, but our Editor-in-Chief and resident Cage historian Matt Singer does, and he tipped me off to this helpful highlight reel on YouTube:

At first, I thought maybe Nic Cage was engaged in some higher-level, super-meta character actor meditation — like he’s ascended beyond Full Cage to something mere mortals can only comprehend as “Fuller Cage,” in which he plays Andy Kaufman’s Tony Clifton playing Nic Cage as a mob boss. Or something.

But as Matt reminded me, Nic Cage has played this character before. That’s not speculation: They share the same name. In Deadfall, Cage is Eddie, last name unknown. In Arsenal, Cage is Eddie King. Watch the Arsenal trailer, and watch the clip above. Now look at these side-by-side photos:

Lionsgate
Lionsgate

Sure, you could assume that Arsenal director Steven C. Miller (who also helmed modern-day Bruce Willis VOD classics like Extraction and Marauders) is a fan of Christopher Coppola’s virtually unseen 1993 thriller and conspired with Cage to pay homage to that film. You could also assume that Cage turned himself into an Easter egg for his hardcore fans, which also puts forth the wonderful idea that every Cage character exists in the same Cage-iverse.

Alternatively, you might even think that Cage has started to run out of wacky ideas, so he went back to his vast well of characters to retrieve inspiration, knowing that almost no one among the 83 people who will rent this movie on VOD would recognize that he’s ripping himself off.

What Cage didn’t take into consideration is that someone out there might have actually seen — and remembered — Deadfall, and that that someone would also have to be a fairly knowledgeable cinephile, the sort of movie nerd that possesses almost total recall of the most seemingly inane details…

Like the fact that Eddie dies in Deadfall, and yet here he is in Arsenal, totally alive. Maybe Miller and screenwriter Jason Mosberg are taking the absurdist, surreal approach, similar to Herzog or Schrader. Here’s something else to consider: Lionsgate currently has the distribution rights to Deadfall; they’re also the studio behind Arsenal. I’m not trying to start a conspiracy theory over here; I’m just laying out the dots. How you connect them is up to you.

We’ve reached out to the film’s publicist for answers, and we’ll keep you updated with any significant developments in the Eddie King case. In the meantime, Arsenal hits select theaters and VOD on January 6, 2017, at which point in time we can only hope that all will be revealed.