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Overall Rating

Awesome: 0%
Worth A Look: 13.33%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad46.67%
Total Crap: 40%

2 reviews, 3 user ratings

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Seeking Justice
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by Brett Gallman

"Cage should have sought out Herzog for his return to New Orleans."
2 stars

Nic Cage has devolved so thoroughly into a crazy-man shtick that he’s just a Friedberg and Seltzer collaboration away from “Nic Cage Movie.” The man has almost become a genre in and of himself, so much so that his presence can furtively transform just about anything into a cock-eyed, loony experience as he attempts to redefine the range of human emotions to only include “eccentric,” “insane,” and everything in between. Unfortunately, in “Seeking Justice,” the only emotion he renders is thudding boredom, so this isn’t so much a “Crazy Cage” experience as it’s just a “Bad Cage” movie, a genre that’s grown at an alarming rate in recent years.

He picked a hell of a time to dial it down, too, because “Seeking Justice” presents a story dialed up to absurdity. Cage is back in New Orleans, where he’s no longer a bad lieutenant, but rather, an English teacher named Will whose wife (January Jones) is raped one night as he plays chess with his buddy, who chastises him for playing it too safe (hint, hint). While in the waiting room, he’s confronted by an enigmatic man (Guy Pearce) who offers to “take care” of his wife’s rapist if he agrees to return a favor at some later date.

This allows Will to avoid going “Death Wish” himself, but six months later, the mysterious guy returns to ensnare him in a conspiracy that extends far beyond his own involvement. Fortunately for Will, it is a ludicrously plotted one, as he finds himself on the lam, running from authorities and one conveniently placed clue to the next that allows him to dutifully unravel a cabal of New Orleans citizens who have aimed to do what the police cannot by ridding the streets of its filth.

The first twenty minutes or so of this are pretty tantalizing since there’s a slight hint that director Roger Donaldson gets it. He’s put Nic Cage in a ridiculous movie, and there are all some all-too-fleeting “Cage-isms” early on, and the scene where Cage mulls over Pearce’s offer is played as the most suspenseful vending machine purpose of all time. Cage looks out of the corner of his eye as a cop watches him purchase not one, but two candy bars, the agreed-upon signal to set this wacky plot into motion. A few other silly moments--such as Cage punching one of his students square in the face--also give one the faintest of hope that “Seeking Justice” will thrive on its bad-movie awareness.

Such hopes are soon dashed by a parade of inane plot points (who keeps evidence of a glorified mob hit in their glove compartment?) and insipid dialogue that even manage to suck Cage’s interest from the proceedings. What begins as an intriguing thrill ride sputters out as the film wheezes towards its exposition-laden finish line, where the belabored twists and turns get untangled and bow-wrapped after a most egregious use of Chekov’s gun that even the Russian playwright himself probably saw coming.

Most of Cage’s supporting cast seems similarly disinterested; Jones acts comatose even after her character emerges from a coma, and her on-screen friend Jennifer Carpenter seems to be contemplating why her agent keeps getting her stuck in low-rent, nonsensical non-thrillers like this and “Gone.” Guy Pearce is arguably the only one involved who doesn’t seem to be slumming it, as he brings an actual ferocity to the role of a misguided vigilante whose nuance unfortunately stripped away by cartoonish threats and delusions.

Donaldson assuredly guides the film with obligatory action chops whose skewed camera angles do what they can to bring some edge and vigor, but you’ve seen episodes of “24” with more energy than this. There seems to be an abject refusal to even acknowledge the underlying absurdities of a movie that has Cage scoping out zoos and mailing letters to Santa Claus, so we’re left with a brainless but deadly serious pulp-fest that plays out amidst the a lifeless, steel-grey New Orleans backdrop.

Anchor Bay’s Blu-ray (which comes with a DVD copy as well) does give it a high-definition polish with a gorgeous transfer and a dynamic Dolby True HD soundtrack that impeccably renders everything from the dialogue to the background ambiance. As there’s no shortage of gunshots and car crashes, your audio system will get a decent workout, especially when the track rumbles down to lower frequencies. A trailer and a seven minute long behind the scenes fluff serve as extras for the Cage faithful that seek it out.

Even Cage enthusiasts will be none too enthused by “Seeking Justice,” a film that somehow throws the usually zany actor into a zany plot and only manages to be an inert, generic rape/revenge riff. If you can take solace in the fact that it’s at least better than “Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance,” then it’s at least recommendable on that level.

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originally posted: 06/14/12 13:43:18
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User Comments

9/15/12 mr.mike As a free Library rental it was good for me. 4 stars
7/30/12 action movie fan unlawful entry meets death wish in this tense vigilante thriller 4 stars
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  09-Mar-2012 (R)
  DVD: 19-Jun-2012



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