Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Seeking Justice - DVD Review

Starring Nicolas Cage, Guy Pearce, January Jones, Harold Perrineau, Jennifer Carpenter, Xander Berkeley and IronE Singleton. 
Directed by Roger Donaldson.


This is a terrific idea for a movie. And yet, the bombastic execution here betrays the premise.

Nicolas Cage and January Jones are the happily married couple, Will and Laura Gerard. Then one night their lives are shattered when she is attacked and raped. While grieving in the hospital waiting room, Will has a stranger named Simon (Guy Pearce) console him and offer to "take care of things." Will knows what Simon means, and in his vulnerable state, he agrees.

Here's where the movie makes its first mistake for me, or at least makes this protagonist more difficult to root for. Even though Will was not in his right mind, he doesn't call anything off, and the next day he gets a picture of the rapist, shot dead. Now he knows he'll need to someday pay Simon and his organization a favor.

At first Will goes along, but when he realizes he's going to have to eventually kill someone, he tries to get out of it. Does he try to go to the cops? No. But what did he expect? It's easier to go along with a character who makes immoral decisions than stupid ones.

Since Will is played by he of the bugged-eyed craziness of Cage, and the direction comes from he of the fearless-action-ratcheting of Donaldson (The Recruit), the movie doesn't address the ethical dilemmas of a vigilante organization; it prefers to devolve into a series of chase sequences.

Now that's not entirely fair. Cage is still capable of good performances, and Donaldson is also the man behind No Way Out and The Bank Job. But something went awry in the evolution of this movie.

Its original title was The Hungry Rabbit Jumps, which is the phrase someone speaks to signal the favor they've done for Simon is complete. Much more interesting title, right? "Seeking Justice" sounds like a straight-to-DVD Steven Seagal movie.

I kinda liked seeing all these TV faces pop up.  Cage and Pearce are the movie stars but it also has Jones (Mad Men), Harold Perrineau (Lost), Jennifer Carpenter (Dexter), Xander Berkeley (24) and IronE Singleton (The Walking Dead) pop up.  Not that they have much to do beyond me mentally pointing at the screen and going, "Oh, hey, it's that one guy."

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