Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Once again, children, what did the hungry rabbit do? Donaldson's SEEKING JUSTICE

The headline above -- part of it, anyway -- is a kind of code that lets you know you're among friends. Or maybe enemies. Its use is one of the more enjoyable aspects of SEEKING JUSTICE (terrible title!), the latest in the burgeoning mini-genre of disposable Nicolas Cage movies. We've just come off Ghost Rider 2 (disposable big-budget variety), and the end of last year gave us one his his worst, Trespass. (Well, Mr. Cage must get those debts paid down, so let's crank out another film!) This new one is infinitely more enjoyable than Trespass, for it has Roger Donaldson (below, of  The Bank Job) at the helm, rather than Joel Schumacher (of Twelve) -- even if its credibility factor is awfully low.

Seeking Justice is a conspiracy movie of the the vengeance-is-mine-sayeth-the-vigilante mode, in which, by the finale, everyone in New Orleans (the film's setting) including your second cousin's mother-in-law seems to be involved in said conspiracy. This sort of thing tends to dampen the "surprise" element, not to mention the suspension of disbelief. And yet, in its rambunctious, goofy way, the movie often works, keeping you interested in, if not glued to, what's going on on-screen. Donaldson achieves this via his usual combination of smart, tight action; growing suspense; and believable performances by all -- even if the plot surrounding those performances is anything but.

Mr Cage (above, left) proves quite fine as a school teacher, who -- after his wife (January Jones, above, right) is assaulted -- is approached by a rather mysterious fellow (Guy Pearce, below, left, doing his "strange" number to a fare-thee-well) who has a plan for taking revenge on  the culprit. If only Cage will consent to it. Oh yes, and then do Pearce one little favor.

As usual with this kind of movie, the build-up is much more interesting (not to mention credible) than the resolution. So be prepared to enjoy what you can: the occasional surprise along the way, some good action sequences, and Mad Men's Ms Jones, acquitting herself more gracefully here than she managed in last year's better film Unknown. Also doing good work are Harold Perrineau (as Cage's friend and school principal) and Xander Berkeley (as a questionably friendly police lieutenant).

Seeking Justice (from Anchor Bay Entertainment, 105 minutes), opens this Friday, March 16 in New York, L.A. and maybe elsewhere. In NYC, you can catch it at the AMC Empire 25, Loews' Kips Bay and 19th Street East, and the Village East Cinema. The film's web site promises to have SHOWTIMES -- with cities and theaters, one expects -- up soon. Once they are, click here to see them.

2 comments:

helios said...

Is this movie have any connection with iphone game Hungry Rabbit? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6y1CY3c8dA

James van Maanen, said...

Hello, helios--
I don't actually know that iPhone game, so I'm not sure if there is any connection. In the movie, I believe we first see the sentence written out, then throughout the film it keeps popping up from the lips of one person or another, as a kind of code to indicate that "We're part of this group." But perhaps the screenwriter used the iPhone game as a jumping off point.