Nicolas Cage has signed on to star in a literary adaptation from a highly esteemed contemporary writer.” And for that one, brief sentence, we were transported back to a time where the Cage was a respected and sought-after actor, offered competitive roles with substance to them and even awards potential. Because while it is true that Cage will appear in an adaptation of a novella by living legend Joyce Carol Oates, any detail beyond that outs this as the typical Nic Cage project that it truly is. The project at hand is, if anything, the Nic Cage version of a prestige movie.

Variety reports today that Cage will headline Vengeance: A Love Story, a thriller that will ostensibly show off the Cage’s combat prowess. Smartly ditching the title of Oates’ Rape: A Love Story, the film will retain the central narrative of revenge; the original novella concerns a single mother in her 30s who survives a brutal gang rape. The cop who takes up her case also happens to have been a Gulf War vet, and he won’t rest until the animals responsible for this heinous crime have been put behind bars — or worse. Using his skills as a detective and a military expert, he sets out on a rampage of revenge that may or may not end with his cold realization that no amount of beatings can undo what has already been done. That’s usually how revenge movies end.

This project, which has yet to project a date of release, weirdly splits the difference between its own reputable literary pedigree and its lurid subject material, which sounds like the stuff of a mid-’90s Jean-Claude Van Damme vehicle. In a strange yet perfect way, the inner contradictions of the production make it the perfect fit for Cage, a man composed of several loosely connected paradoxes. Now, all that’s left to do is find out what sort of wig he’ll be wearing, and exactly how ridiculous it will be.