Nicolas Cage sure has had his ups and downs over the last several years. It's been a long time since he headlined a film that won widespread critical acclaim ("Adaptation?"). Cage seems content to star in lowbrow tripe like "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance," "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," or "Season of the Witch." The Oscar winning actor can't say no anymore. Not surprising, considering he owes millions in back taxes to the IRS. The poor guy had to sell off extravagances such as an 18th century castle in England, an island in the Bahamas, and his copy of Action Comics #1. I don't know what's worse, giving up a copy of Superman's first appearance or doing Z-grade direct-to-video schlock like "Seeking Justice."
Cage is Will Gerard, a high school teacher trying to enlighten inner city youths about Shakespeare. One night, his wife, Laura (January Jones), is attacked and raped. While waiting at the hospital, Will is approached by the mysterious Simon (Guy Pearce), a member of a clandestine organization meting out their own brand of street justice. Simon offers to deal with his wife's assailant in a manner the police and the courts cannot. All he asks in return is a simple favor to be named later. At first, the favors seem innocuous enough - mail a letter and then observe a woman and her children at the zoo. Next thing you know, Simon orders Will to murder a supposed pedophile. Will and Laura find their lives in danger as they discover just how far reaching and powerful Simon is.
Call Nicolas Cage what you want: a human medical experiment or a living, breathing post-modern expressionist art exhibit, perhaps? Whether it's his bizarre inflections, crazed bug-eyed looks or psychotic twitches, he is entertaining in a unintentional way. There's bad and there's Nicolas Cage bad. Either way, you can hardly accuse him of being boring. Unfortunately, that's exactly what he is in "Seeking Justice," boring. Despite returning to the Big Easy, the site of his manic performance in Werner Herzog's "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call – New Orleans," Cage barely registers as if he were going through the motions until the check clears. Equally robotic is his co-star January Jones, who delivers every line with a blank stare and a monotone demeanor, much like her performances in "X-Men First Class" or "Unknown." It's a wonder how she could be as good as Betty Draper on AMC's "Mad Men."
The filmmakers may have done better by replacing Jones with "Dexter" star Jennifer Carpenter, who says barely a few sentences as Laura's best friend, Trudy. The supporting cast also includes Xander Berkeley as a police detective, Harold Perrineau from "Lost" as Will's best friend, and IronE Singleton from "The Walking Dead" as one of Simon's enforcers.
Much like Cage, director Roger Donaldson has had a rollercoaster career. He's been behind the camera of well-received films such as "Thirteen Days" and "The World's Fastest Indian. Yet, he's also directed "Species," "Dante's Peak," the Alec Baldwin/Kim Basinger remake of "The Getaway," and the 80's camp classic "Cocktail." Donaldson's last feature was "The Bank Job," an excellent heist movie that gave Jason Statham a chance to stretch his acting muscles beyond his usual action pictures. "Seeking Justice" doesn't do the same for Nicolas Cage and is so forgettable; it doesn't even belong amidst Donaldson's weaker efforts. His direction is leaden with random canted angles thrown in to switch up things.
The screenplay credited to Todd Hickey and Robert Tannen is full of weak contrivances and ludicrous plot twists. The methods of Simon's vigilante organization are needlessly Machiavellian. There's a lot of silly cloak-and-dagger activity such as buying two candy bars from a vending machine as a go signal or using the code-phrase, "The hungry rabbit jumps," which was the movie's original title. This same association employs cops, reporters, and skilled thugs. It doesn't make a lick of sense for them to coerce untrained civilians.
The video is presented in 1080p with an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The transfer is richly detailed with natural skin tones and strong black levels. The picture is clean with a slightly muted color palette.
The audio is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1. The sound is robust with car crashes, gunfire, the rumbling of a train, and the tense score of a thriller.
Seeking Justice: Behind the Scenes (7:08) is your standard EPK style featurette about the production of the movie.
Also included are the theatrical trailer and a DVD copy of the film.
As revenge thrillers go, one can do better. "Seeking Justice" is a second-rate potboiler that is unworthy of even Nicolas Cage's notoriously feeble standards.