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7 best Nicolas Cage sci-fi movies, ranked

Two men point guns at each other in Face/Off.
Paramount

With well over 100 movies to his name since his screen debut in 1982, Nicolas Cage is one of the most prolific actors of his generation. And while Cage has appeared in many rom-coms, thrillers, and dramas, he’s only occasionally accepted roles in sci-fi movies. Even with Cage’s direct-to-video era, there just aren’t many science fiction movies to choose from.

Since Cage has a sci-fi adjacent postapocalyptic horror flick called Arcadian currently available on VOD, we’ve decided to throw the spotlight on the seven best Nicolas Cage sci-fi movies. However, you should keep in mind that Cage isn’t always the best judge of what is or isn’t a great movie. That’s why this list would be very different if it was about the seven best Nicolas Cage movies. In fact, only our top choice would be on both lists.

7. Jiu Jitsu (2020)

Nicolas Cage in Jiu Jitsu.
The Avenue Entertainment

If you’re coming to Jiu Jitsu to see Nicolas Cage, then you’ll probably be disappointed by how small his role is in the movie. And then you’ll be disappointed by everything else. In this sci-fi martial arts flick, Jiu Jitsu experts have been fighting off alien invaders for years. Cage plays Wylie, one of the best fighters who is among Earth’s defenders.

But this movie is primarily about Jake Barnes (Alain Moussi), a Jiu Jitsu warrior who was injured during his last encounter with the aliens. Jake awakens without his memories, but that’s not going to stop the aliens from attempting to finish the job they started on him.

Watch Jiu Jitsu on Tubi.

6. The Humanity Bureau (2017)

Nicolas Cage in The Humanity Bureau.
Minds Eye Entertainment

Cage’s Noah Kross is a member of the title organization in The Humanity Bureau. It evaluates each citizen in the future, and those who are found to be unproductive are deported to New Eden, which isn’t a fate that anyone deserves — even before the truth about its nature is revealed.

Kross takes pity on a single mother, Rachel Weller (Sarah Lind), and her son, Lucas (Jakob Davies), because he feels a personal connection to them. But this small act of defiance turns the Humanity Bureau against Kross, which forces him to lead Rachel and Lucas on a desperate journey to escape the oppressive regime in America.

Watch The Humanity Bureau on Prime Video.

5. Knowing (2009)

Nicolas Cage in Knowing.
Summit Entertainment

Knowing begins with a brief prelude featuring a young girl named Lucinda (Lara Robinson) as she writes down a series of numbers without fully understanding why. Five decades later, Lucinda’s writing is rediscovered in a time capsule, where it winds up in the hands of astrophysicist John Koestler (Cage) and his son, Caleb (Chandler Canterbury).

Much to his shock, John realizes that Lucinda accurately predicted the dates and death tolls of numerous tragedies from the preceding 50 years, including 9/11. Now, there are only three dates left on Lucinda’s predictions, and the last one may mark the end of the world. Out of desperation, John seeks out Lucinda’s daughter, Diana (Rose Byrne), and her daughter, Abby (Robinson). But no matter what John tries, the future appears to be inevitable.

Watch Knowing on Freevee.

4. Next (2007)

Nicolas Cage and Jessica Biel in Next.
Paramount Pictures

Next is very, very loosely based on Philip K. Dick‘s The Golden Man. But don’t come into this movie expecting it to be as good as Blade Runner. The best thing about it is Cage’s performance as Cris Johnson, a man who can see into the future … but only two minutes ahead of the present. The lone exception to that rule is Cris’ first meeting with Elizabeth Cooper (Jessica Biel), the potential love of his life. He’s just not sure when they’re going to meet.

Although Cris tries to keep his powers a secret, National Security Agency (NSA) agent Callie Ferris (Julianne Moore) figures out his abilities, and he also attracts the attention of terrorists. With his options dwindling, Cris feels boxed in by his choices, and there may not be a good outcome for his story.

Watch Next on Hoopla.

3. Astro Boy (2009)

Astro Boy and Dr. Bill Tenma in Astro Boy.
Summit Entertainment

Osamu Tezuka’s Astro Boy was one of the first manga and anime franchises to catch on in the U.S. during the early 1960s. That’s one of the reasons why Astro Boy got a modern reboot movie in 2009. And shockingly, this animated film gave Cage some emotionally charged scenes to play. Cage provided the voice of Dr. Bill Tenma, a brilliant inventor and the father of Toby Tenma (Freddie Highmore).

In the aftermath of Toby’s tragic death, Dr. Tenma is distraught. He deals with his grief by building Astro Boy (Highmore), a nearly exact robotic duplicate of Toby. But when Tenma realizes that Astro Boy isn’t simply an exact copy of Toby, he rejects him. Yet over time, Tenma realizes his mistake and recognizes that he loves Astro Boy as well. Their reconciliation really pulls at the heartstrings, and earns it a high spot on this list.

Rent or buy Astro Boy on Prime Video.

2. Color Out of Space (2019)

Joely Richardson and Nicolas Cage in Color Out of Space.
RLJE Films

Color Out of Space is one of the best movies in Nicolas Cage’s direct-to-video era, largely because it’s based on the H. P. Lovecraft sci-fi and horror story of the same name. Cage plays Nathan Gardner, the husband of Theresa Gardner (The Gentlemen‘s Joely Richardson) and the father of their three children: Lavinia (Madeleine Arthur), Benny (Brendan Meyer), and Jack (Julian Hilliard).

After taking over the farm of his late father, Nathan and the rest of his family are shocked when a brightly colored meteorite lands in their front yard and contaminates their water supply. It isn’t long before the entire family starts feeling the effects of that. Madness comes first for some, before a disturbing body horror transformation affects two of the others. And Nathan’s sanity is hanging by a thread when things get even worse.

Watch Color Out of Space on AMC+.

1. Face/Off

Sean and Castor having a conversation through a wall in Face/Off.
Paramount

On almost every level, Face/Off is a standard action thriller … except for its core premise, which is where the sci-fi aspect kicks in. Cage plays Castor Troy, a vicious terrorist who accidentally murders the young son of FBI agent Sean Archer (John Travolta) when the film begins. In the rematch years later, Archer gets the upper hand and Troy is left comatose.

However, Troy had an ace up his sleeve in the form of a hidden bomb. To coax the location of the bomb from Troy’s brother, Pollux (Alessandro Nivola), Archer agrees to an experimental face swap with Troy and goes undercover in prison. Unfortunately for Archer, the real Troy wakes up from his coma and forces the doctors to attach Archer’s face to his body before murdering everyone who knew about the switch. Now Archer is the one on the run, while Troy gleefully steals his identity and menaces his family.

Watch Face/Off on Paramount+.

Editors' Recommendations

Blair Marnell
Blair Marnell has been an entertainment journalist for over 15 years. His bylines have appeared in Wizard Magazine, Geek…
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