The plot is essentially the same as the original, but this time around things are dumbed down to make it very clear to the audience what's going on.
The pagan islanders are no longer regular looking people who happen to have a different set of beliefs, they are now characterized as less modern than the Amish and have reverted to a pre-industrialized society where there is no police force, electricity, cars or anything at all. Completely unbelievable. SOMEONE would have noticed their little "secret".
The island is run by women with some very heavy-handed and non-subtle analogies to a beehive - there is a queen bee, there are male drones who simply follow orders and are forbidden from speaking and other corny, unnecessary touches that are insulting to the audience. This however, allows Nicolas Cage ample room to ham it up as the swaggering, wound-up, Elvis impersonator he plays in every movie he's in. The director thought that having the island be run by women would be a feminist statement, so I'm not sure what he had in mind when he had Cage's character start punching them all in the face. Regardless, it's mildly amusing, though I doubt that was the intent.
And let's stick with Cage while we're here. If ever there was a performance that was phoned in, this may be it. Plus his character just doesn't make any sense. A California Highway Patrolman, he is way out of his jurisdiction on a small remote Washington island. So the fact that the residents refuse to acknowledge his authority is not only sensible, but totally legal. At least in the original the cop has "legal" authority which made it somewhat scary when he could not manage to get anyone to even give him the time of day. Here, it's just dumb. And Cage is bad. And ridiculous. I hate him.
- Complaint Dept