It seems like Nicolas Cage‘s celebrity lifestyle and personal problems with the IRS require him to act only in critically-thrashed, big-budget movies.  Sure, every now and then he’ll pick a good project where 80s and 90s Nic Cage shines through; unfortunately, Seeking Justice isn’t one of those projects. But it’s not all bad. Helmed by director Roger Donaldson, Seeking Justice is the story of a tortured husband who avenges his wife’s rapist by hiring a clan of vigilantes. Donaldson, an action pro, distracts the audience with chase scenes and gun fights, and eventually delivers a somewhat entertaining action movie.

The Players:

  • Director: Roger Donaldson
  • Writer: Robert Tannen (screenplay), Todd Hickey (Story)
  • Starring: Nicolas Cage, January Jones, and Guy Pearce
  • Cinematography: David Tattersall

The Plot:

Will Gerard (Nicolas Cage) is a high school English teach whose cellist wife (January Jones) is raped near their New Orleans home. At the hospital, Will is approached by a mysterious man named Simon (Guy Pearce), who promises him closure, revenge, and justice at no cost. Simon and his organization of vigilantes avenge Will’s wife, but things get complicated when Simon asks for a favor in return.

The Good:

  • Action: Seeking Justice starts off pretty intense, with Cage agonizing over his wife’s pain and a mysterious man showing up out of nowhere offering him revenge. It doesn’t make a lot of sense, but it’s suspenseful enough to keep you interested; that goes on for about two thirds of the movie, with chase scenes, Cage racing around the streets of New Orleans, and mysterious run-ins with vigilantes. Unfortunately, the plot becomes so predictable that the action loses its energy.
  • Story: Somewhere in between all of the mess, there’s a good story here about citizens who try to take back their city. These New Orleans citizens don’t feel like they are being protected by their law enforcement so they are forced to watch out for themselves and seek justice in other ways.

The Bad:

  • Nic Cage: It’s hard to watch Nic Cage without cringing a little bit. He’s just not someone who can play a normal English school teacher and get away with it. Maybe we know too much about him, or maybe he just can’t act normal, but most of the time he’s on-screen he seems rushed to get to the next scene or bored with the material.
  • Plot: Although there’s a good story to be told in Seeking Justice, what we get isn’t nearly as good. What starts off as a story about a man trying to avenge his wife’s rapist, turns into a messy movie about investigative journalism, corruption, and rabbits. There’s occasional surprises in the plot, but after a while everything become predictable.

Overall:

Seeking Justice is a movie that wants to be mysterious and complicated, but all we get is a formulaic action movie with Nic Cage as the male lead. There’s some entertaining action, but not enough worth a trip to the movies.

Rating: 4.5/10

Seeking Justice opens in select theaters on March 16, 2012.

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Will you watch Seeking Justice?