Homefront movie
7.25 out of 10
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie
8.75 out of 10
Disney's Frozen movie
10.0 out of 10
Delivery Man movie
6.75 out of 10
8.25 out of 10

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Seeking Justice

Working Class Hero?

Rated: R  Brief sexuality, violence and language
Release Date: March 16, 2012
Runtime: 1 hr 45 mins

Director:  Roger Donaldson
Writers: Todd Hickey, Robert Tannen
Cast:  Nicolas Cage, January Jones, Guy Pearce, Jennifer Carpenter, IronE Singleton, Harold Perrineau, Xander Berkeley

SYNOPSIS: When his wife is sexually assaulted, school teacher Will Gerard accepts the offer from a vigilante group to avenge her. What he doesn't realize is that the 'favor' they ask him to carry out afterward is more than what he bargained for.

REVIEW: Roger Donaldson, directors of such intrigue films as The Recruit and The Bank Job, takes a story and script from first time writer and longtime cinematographer Todd Hickey and relative new screenwriter Robert Tannen. Starring Nicolas Cage, one of the hardest working actors in show business, will Seeking Justice find the justice it seeks?
High school teacher and chess enthusiast Will Gerard (Nicolas Cage, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance)   enjoys the New Orleans scene with his musician wife Laura (January Jones, X-Men: First Class) and his friends and co-workers. One night, when Laura is sexually assaulted and put into the hospital, Will is approached by a mysterious man named Simon (Guy Pearce, The King's Speech) who ensures Will that his organization can and will silence the assailant for good if Will agrees to help the organization in the near future when they ask for his assistance. Unable to watch his wife suffer in pain, Will agrees and the deed is carried out. A few months later, when Will is asked by Simon to carry a letter to a mail box in front of the zoo, the favor is upped to following a mother and two daughters, then ramped up to the request to carry out an assassination of an accused pedophile. When Will refuses, he and his wife are put into danger by the same organization that aided them in the first place. Running out of time, Will must try to expose the organization before it destroys him. 

Nicolas Cage has recently tarnished his acting star with a string of less than stellar films including Season of the Witch and The Sorcerer's Apprentice. Even with genre anticipated films like the Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance sequel and a comic book favorite film of mine, Kick-Ass, some look at Cage's current career path as on the decline. He has certainly come a long way down from Adaptation and Leaving Las Vegas, or even the National Treasure franchise. With Seeking Justice, Cage does pump the brakes a little by putting out a decent product.

Nicolas Cage tempers the caricature of himself that even SNL's Andy Samberg has perfected on the segment 'Inside the Cage, with Nicolas Cage'. When Cage is not mugging or staring wide-eyed, his character actually comes down to earth enough to be believable and distraught. January Jones channels sympathy instead of her signature distain from Mad Men as she recovers from her physical and psychological trauma. Guy Pearce beefs up a little, probably in preparation of the upcoming space prison sci-fi flick Lockout, and cuts an imposing and dangerous figure as the vigilante group figure head  Simon. Harold Perrineau (Lost) as Will's principal boss and friend, and Jennifer Carpenter (Gone) as Laura's musician friend Trudy keep to the background until the story plots require them to step forward. Some of the 'organization's' henchmen like Scar (IronE Singleton, The Walking Dead) have larger roles than some of the bigger name actors and actresses. 

Seeking Justice is the type of film that is reminiscent of 1990s films like Johnny Depp's Nick of Time where a seemingly unprepared and unlikely middle-class man is forced to go beyond his comfort zone against an established organization that has unlimited resources, a powerful reach into law enforcement, and expertise in misdirection, mayhem and violence. In this case, the protagonist dies not take retribution into his own hands to avenge his wife's assailant, but is forced to take action nonetheless when his decisions to have someone else kill for him comes back to haunt him. 

By no means is Seeking Justice Cage's best work, but it is a solid action drama thriller whose script has been brought to full life by the expert hands of its director Roger Donaldson, and by the work of the film's protagonists in Cage and January Jones, and its antagonist Guy Pearce. If you can't get into Jonah Hill's 21 Jump Street, you can always fall back onto Seeking Justice as a second choice if you really need a couple chases or guns pointed in your face.

WORTH: Matinee or Rental

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