After his wife is raped, Will Gerard (Nicholas Cage) is approached by Simon (Guy Pearce), who says that he can take care of the man who did it; little does Will know that by agreeing to Simon’s offer he will soon be fighting for his and his wife’s life.
Seeking Justice is one of those classic types of movies whose premise is so awesome that you swear the film can’t be bad. Then you watch it. And you realize that every cool thing about the premise is squandered and flushed down the toilet and all you end up with is a generic action film. Even the awesome talents of Guy Pearce cannot save this film. Make no mistake, it is not terrible. It is forgettable, and that is infinitely worse than terrible. . . at least with a terrible movie you remember it.
After Will’s wife is raped, he is approached in the hospital by Simon. Simon tells Will that he works for an ‘Organization’ who takes care of problems like this. They will take care of the guy who raped his wife, they want no money, and all they ask in return is a favor at some point in the future. Reluctantly, Will agrees and shortly thereafter he is given a package that has his wife’s necklace and a picture of the rapist dead. 6 months later, Simon calls Will and tells him to follow this mother and daughter at the zoo and keep a look out for a specific guy. Simon then gives Will instructions on how to kill this guy and make it look like an accident. After Will accidentally kills this guy, he finds out that he wasn’t a child molester, as Simon had told him, but a reporter investigating Simon and ‘The Organization’.
Plot-wise, there are many, many things going for this movie. The entire concept of an organization that does what the police cannot, essentially organized vigilante justice, is a great idea. That they recruit men who have been wronged to avenge the wronging of someone else is fantastic. These men aren’t killers. They are just men who feel that justice has let them down and they feel obligated to carry out their assignments for the ‘Organization’ for the help and justice they have received. The ‘Organization’ operate as cells, so if one cell is busted, another is ready to spring up and take it’s place. I find the whole concept fascinating.
Unfortunately, what we have here is less an examination of a great idea and more of generic action film. It essentially becomes a lazy cat and mouse game between Will and Simon as Will discovers that Simon was about to be reported on by a journalist, which is who Simon had him kill. Th action scenes aren’t that impressive and Nicholas Cage, Guy Pearce, and January Jones (Will’s wife Laura) just kind of coast through this film. There never feels like there is actually any weight to the proceedings. The violence isn’t rough enough to warrant any gut reactions, and you never feel as though there is ever any real danger to our hero. You know that he is going to survive and he is never any worse for wear. Even though he is a high school English teacher going up against a trained ‘Organization’.
Directed by Roger Donaldson (Cocktail, Species, Thirteen Days), the film is just lazy. Which is sad because Donaldson is a talented director. While none of his films have ever crossed into the amazing category, the three listed above along with The Bank Job are very entertaining and well done films. I especially love Thirteen Days, which makes seeing this film even more disappointing.
While Seeking Justice isn’t a terrible film, it is just lazy and not very good. With the leads just cruising through the proceedings, a script that doesn’t mine the gold it has, and uninspired action scenes, I cannot recommend this film. I can’t help but feel that there is a great movie here. Maybe someday someone will take a look at the film or script and re-write it and re-make it into the film that this should have been. There’s just too much good with the premise to let it go out like this.
** out of ****