DVD Review: Seeking Justice

Nicolas Cage is an actor who kind of has a bad rap for seemingly taking on any role that is offered to him. I mean, the guy does show up in a lot of movies, and unfortunately for him, many of them in recent years haven’t been that successful. Still, there’s no denying that he’s good at what he does, and at the very least, he’s almost always entertaining to watch.

Seeking Justice is his latest movie, which had a theatrical opening so small that it might as well be looked at as a straight-to-video release. That’s not a knock against it, as there have been many great direct-to-video releases in recent years. So much so, in fact, that the days of automatically shrugging off the latest Steven Segal movie as just a quick money grab with no real production value are out the window. Okay, well, maybe you can still shrug off the latest Segal movies, but what I’m saying is that it’s no longer par for the course to consider a movie that wasn’t released theatrically to be brushed off without a second thought.

Seeking Justice is actually quite an entertaining movie, with solid performances by those involved, and an interesting story that keeps the intrigue level high from start to finish. The story takes place in New Orleans and follows English teacher Will Gerard (Cage) who, after his wife Laura (January Jones) is sexually assaulted, meets a mysterious man by the name of Simon (Guy Pearce). Simon tells Will that he’s part of a group that are sick of watching criminals get away with their actions in their city, and that if Will wants, they can “take care” of his wife’s assaulter, so long as he agrees to do a favour for them some time in the future.

Still shaken by his wife lying in a hospital bed, beaten and bruised, Will agrees, and the wheels are set in motion. Not long after, Will receives an envelope with a picture of his wife’s assailant in it. He’s been shot in the head, and the necklace he stole from his wife is attached to the picture as further evidence of the man’s crime. Six months later, Will and Laura are still trying to move forward when one day Will receives a phone call from Simon asking him for a favour. Though what Will soon finds out is that he’s gotten himself mixed up in something much bigger than he ever imagined, and it could cost him everything.

One thing Cage is really good at is being an ordinary looking guy, who can also pack a punch when needed. He’s someone that’s believable as an English teacher, but also believable as someone who can hold his own against the bad guys. In Seeking Justice, Cage does a great job of being someone who’s tormented by the choices he makes, and plays it off well. When Will is in the hospital and is approached by Simon, it’s hard for the viewer to imagine what they’d do in that situation. Someone you love has just been brutally assaulted, and here’s a guy telling you he can make that person pay, and all you need to do is a favour for them down the road.

Of course, one may think that the obvious answer is no (and this is actually Will’s initial reaction as well), but it takes actually being in that situation to know exactly how you’d react. The scene is great, and Pearce is superb as Simon, as he’s calm and disarming, yet somewhat cold and calculating at the same time. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to those who know his work, as Pearce has always been a greatly underrated talent in my eyes; though I’m happy that he’ll have a sizeable role in the upcoming blockbuster Iron Man 3, which will hopefully help garner him the wider recognition he deserves.

Jones also does a solid job in her role, while the rest of the supporting cast is filled with recognizable faces from hit TV shows. Xander Berkeley, who played George Mason on 24 for two seasons, plays a detective, and is cool as ever. Also of note is Harold Perrineau, who played Michael on LOST, and Jennifer Carpenter, who plays Debra Morgan on Dexter. Both play friends of Will and Laura, though Carpenter once again takes on a role that’s extremely minimal and has only a few lines, much like her bit part in the Dwayne Johnson action flick Faster.

There are a few times when things get a little out of hand as far as realism goes, but it’s nothing so over the top that the viewer can’t let the plausibility scale tip just a little in the other direction. There’s enough action and suspense in Seeking Justice to keep most intrigued and entertained for the duration, and an interesting premise that actually delivers for the most part. In the end, you’ll likely know what you’re getting into if you pick this up; but for those of you that are still on the fence about direct-to-video movies, be assured that this one is worth seeking out.

The video transfer of this DVD is well done, and there are no real moments of distortion or graininess that will distract viewers from the overall presentation. The audio is on the same level, with the soundtrack and dialogue mixing well, and the sound effects coming through nicely where needed to put the viewer into the atmosphere the scenes require.

There are no special features on this DVD.

Seeking Justice is a quality film that has an interesting premise that delivers the goods when all is said and done. There’s no denying that it can be a gamble to pick up a movie that you’ve never heard of and stars someone who doesn’t have the strongest track record as of late; however, the solid performances of Cage and Pearce make this a gamble worth taking.

An Alliance Films Release Endgame Entertainment Company presents Seeking Justice. Directed by: Roger Donaldson. Written by: Robert Tannen & Todd Hickey. Starring: Nicolas Cage, Guy Pearce, January Jones, Jennifer Carpenter, Xander Berkeley, Harold Perrineau. Running time: 105 minutes. Rating: R. Released: July 3, 2012. Available at Amazon.com.

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