What sounded like one of the year's most ill-fitting and head-scratching projects -- Neil LaBute and Nicolas Cage (of all combos) getting together to remake Robin Hardy's 1973 chiller The Wicker Man (a true cult classic if ever there was one) -- ends up being a half-compelling, half-goofy and half-redundant piece of remake revisionism. (Yes, that's three halves, but it's that weird a movie.) That's not to say you won't find a few really strong components in LaBute's (ultimately pointless) revisit ... but it'll take a straight face and a eagle's eye to find the good stuff. And even then, the only people who should bother with the remake are the ones who simply can't be hassled renting the original because it's old and British.
Cage stars as state cop Ed Malus, a hard-working and noble sort of everyman hero, whose story begins with a mysterious, deadly roadside explosion and the malaise that comes only when a cop loses two civilians ... and the bodies are never found. After stewing around in his misery juices for a few days, Ed receives a letter from an old lover: She needs him to make the trek out to a private and very isolated island off the coast of Washington because her daughter's gone missing and there's nobody on the island who can help.
After bribing a local pilot and mildly butting a few heads upon his arrival, Edward settles in with the meat of the mystery. But the off-kilter community of Summersisle, which is composed almost exclusively of unfriendly females, indentured males and billions of bees, does not take too kindly to Eddie's arrival. (It probably doesn't help that he has the word "male" as part of his last name.) Indeed, most of The Wicker Man consists of Cage flaccidly interrogating a series of very sneaky women before the mystery is laid bare with a finale that (thankfully) hasn't been monkeyed with too much.