As far as acting goes, I'm not the biggest Nicolas Cage fan, but give him a role where he has a raging substance abuse problem plus a prostitute girlfriend and the guy absolutely shines. You won't find a better drunkard in film history than his Academy Award winning performance in Leaving Las Vegas and, with that exception, the only other role that has left me impressed with Cage's acting chops was the recent Werner Herzog film Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans where he plays a morally-challenged cop with a severe drug problem.
The film is not without controversy, however, as it is similar to Abel Ferrar's 1992 film Bad Lieutenant which takes place in New York City. I've seen both and, yes, they are very similar but each has its own unique charm. Ferrar, however, doesn't quite feel the same way saying "As far as remakes go,...I wish these people die in Hell. I hope they're all in the same streetcar, and it blows up." I'm guessing that Mr. Ferrar won't be giving this film "two thumbs up", but I will and I will also say that Nicolas Cage deserves a nomination for Best Actor with this role. And Werner Herzog should be given some sort of award for allowing his actors to use their regular voices rather than a phony, over-the-top Louisiana accent.
And while I can honestly say that I haven't been extremely impressed with rappers turned actors(other than 2Pac), Xzibit turns in a great performance as drug kingpin, Big Fate.