I didn't expect too much from this movie. It did very poorly at the box office, Nicholas Cage has not made a superior movie in a while and Wal Mart only wanted $5.00 for it. And while it isn't a classic or anything like that, it is still a very decent movie. It is well written and Werner Herzog does a very good job of setting a story in post-Katrina New Orleans. I've been to New Orleans. It really is a collage of different types of city and this really captures the desolate urban-ness side of the town very well.
All around, the acting is quite good. But Cage does a fantastic job. It is really reminiscent of his Oscar winning performance in Leaving Las Vegas. Given the fact that he seems to be going more and more insane as time passes, this performance really combines the old Cage with the weirdness we've come to expect. He does a fantastic job of bringing out the changes in the character.
The only real drawback is that the story doesn't seem to have any real direction that it wants to stick to. It bounces from plot line to plot line and that causes the viewer to lose interest a little bit. And the way it ties up is a little too convenient and reminiscent of a 60 year old Christmas movie. But that notwithstanding, I would still say you should see this movie. The Bad Lieutenant is a really good caricature of how humanity is basically good in its intent but severely flawed in its execution. Go into it with the attitude that it is allegorical rather than a traditional cop movie and you should enjoy it.