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Saturday, March 10, 2012

SEEKING JUSTICE (2011) - Review


What It's About

The plot starts out on the familiar path of a revenge movie when Will Gerard (Nicolas Cage), a high school teacher, enlists the aid of an underground organization dealing with murdering dangerous criminals, after his wife, Laura (January Jones), is brutally beaten and raped. The aforementioned organization led by Simon (Guy Pearce) kills Laura's attacker. What Will doesn't understand is that the service comes with a price attached. Some months laters he is contacted by Simon, who asks him to return the favor and kill a dangerous sex offender. Will refuses, so the organization marks him as a threat to their existence, framing him for murder and hunting him down.


The Good
  • Director Roger Donaldson ("The Recruit", "Dante's Peak", "Species") uses his proven experience to infuse some thrills into an otherwise mundane B movie.
  • Solid action scenes provide decent thrills for action fans, with a lot of help from the dynamic cinematography by veteran D.P. David Tattersall ("Con Air", "Vertical Limit")
  • Guy Pearce makes for a solid villain. Too bad his character isn't given more depth and some memorable lines.
  • The premise is a neat twist on the revenge thriller (now read the bad).


The Bad
  • Weak writing sacrifices depth for routine conspiracy plot and ruins the interesting premise. The conspiracy itself is like a vendetta version of "Fight Club". And believe me, the comparison does not make "Seeking Justice" a better movie.
  • Whatever fun you might have with the one or two truly surprising twists will eventually be replaced by the disappointment of a routine third-act shootout.
  • One car chase in particular is completely gratuitous, which is somewhat consistent with the overall B-style of this movie. One police car is severely damaged in the most unrealistic crash I have ever seen at the movies lately. Once again, totally gratuitous.
  • Good supporting cast is wasted on roles of no real importance, Harold Perrineau and Jennifer Carpenter in particular.

The In-Between
  • Nicolas Cage delivers a serviceable performance as the everyday man fighting impossible odds and who is sometimes capable of climbing down tall structures and driving dangerously without even so much as a scratch. And yes, he does get to chew a little scenery.


Conclusions

Nicolas Cage has been involved in a long series of bad movies in the last few years. Most of them open in January, a time of the year when only the most hopeless of studio-endorsed productions creep into theaters, hoping to score some cash when the level of the competition is low. "Seeking Justice" is not as bad as, let's say "Trespass", which I have already reviewed, but it's not a good thriller, either. It ranks just a little higher than Cage's usual fare and falls somewhere down the middle, a shining example of mediocrity. What you will get from watching this movie is 105 minutes of instantly-forgettable escapist entertainment laced with some decent action.