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Don’t believe us? Watch the video below.

Both sequences seem specifically written for Cage’s unique ability to deliver lines with simultaneous earnestness and operatic bombast. He’d been doing it for years in movies like Michael Bay’s The Rock (1996) or John Woo’s Face/Off (1997) where he might tell a goon, “It’s you, you’re the Rocket Man” as a typical for that era action movie one-liner (he’d immediately afterward shoot a missile at said goon). Or there was that time he more grandly declares the title of Woo’s batshit actioner, by promising, “I’m going to take his face… off. Face… off!”

But in the case of National Treasure, Turteltaub recognized the brilliance of Cage’s matter-of-fact grandiloquence. So unlike the aforementioned sequences, he built entire scenes around that simple dramatic line reading, with the camera slowly dollying in on Cage until he drops a verbal diamond like it’s the money shot of an action scene.

The ability to both underplay and overemphasize such nonsense became internet “meme” fodder before the phrase even existed. It even reached the not-so-rarified air of Saturday Night Live where the mid-2000s parody of him, portrayed by Andy Samberg, was to say with a stoneface lines like, “We’re going to kidnap God and not give Him back until we get our damn money” and “I’m going to teabag the magna carta.”

As with everything else Nicolas Cage, The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent recognizes the small kitschy greatness of this National Treasure legacy. It stands there right alongside Cage’s wooden hand from Moonstruck (1987), which also makes an appearance, or the actor’s gold-plated guns from Face/Off. And it’s one of the many pieces of pop culture furniture that the actor’s career has left behind.

It gets its due in the third act of the new movie, too, when Pascal’s Javi Gutierrez gets to utter a line with the exact same level of ridiculousness to Cage. Before this moment both characters have struggled mightily on the meta plot thread of a movie-within-a-movie. Both Javi and Cage, playing a narcissistic version of himself, are attempting to collaborate on a screenplay while going through the actual movie’s larger plot mechanics, and both characters insist their upcoming project will be an adult drama—a film made by Cage the actor and not Cage the movie star (a distinction which is literalized in the movie by internal debates inside Cage’s mind between himself and “Nicki,” a leather jacket-wearing id who demands Cage make more action movies).

Source: Den of Geek

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