211 ½

Unwatchable even by the subterranean standards of a direct-to-video Nicolas Cage thriller, director York Shackleton’s “211” is the kind of low-grade schlock that leaves you with a newfound respect for the basic competence that most bad movies bring to the table. Not even the opening credits feel totally credible, as they insist the film is “based on a screenplay” by the filmmaker, a point of attribution that doubles as a brutal self-own.

These are but a few of the many haunting questions that loom over “211”: “What?,” the more existential “why?,” and of course “wait… how the hell did this movie about war profiteers in Afghanistan suddenly become a heartwarming story about a black teenager who learns how to stop worrying and love white cops?”

Also, when the film’s IMDb trivia page says that “Nicolas Cage read the script in 2014,” was that the only time? And finally: “What the hell is a ‘211,’ anyway?”

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