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Seeking Justice

Year: 2011
Production Co: Endgame Entertainment
Director: Roger Donaldson
Writer: Todd Hickey/Robert Tannen
Cast: Nicolas Cage, January Jones, Guy Pearce, Harold Pirreneau

Well, Nicolas Cage apparently bought an antique Persian rug or something so here he is duly picking up the cheque and turning in another hangdog-eyed action thriller where he plays a lovable everyman thrust into an untenable situation, barely raising his ton-weight eyebrows above their default 'just woke up' position.

Teacher Will lives a good life in New Orleans with his cute wife Laura (January Jones), but after she's set upon, beaten and raped on the way to her car one night after being out, he treads that most oft-trod of movie archetypes, the umpteenth good-guy-turned-vigilante. Even Charles Bronson is sick of turning in his grave by now.

While sitting in the hospital room trying to process what's happened to her, Will is approached by an enigmatic stranger (a buzz-cutted Guy Pearce) calling himself Simon, telling stories about how Will and his wife can get the justice they seek, that he only has to say the word and an underground vigilante group who operates across the city with impunity will take revenge at Laura'a attacker. All they ask in return is that Will performs a similar act for them down the track when they call on him.

Unable to resist the temptation to see the creep go down for what he did, Will eventually agrees, and soon he receives a photo of the guy, badly busted up and clearly dead, along with the necklace he took off Laura during her ordeal.

Will gets on with his life, tending to his fragile wife and trying to help things get back to normal. But you just know The Call is coming and when it does, the change of heart Will feels will not go down well with the well connected organisation that was behind the murder of his wife's attacker. He owes them, and they intend to collect.

From there it's all plot mechanics that aren't worth remembering even a few weeks later, but you know exactly where it's all going after the first agreement is made. He commits the awful act, becomes a man desperately fighting for his life as as he realises how high up the secretive organisation goes, has to wage a one many war against them, etc etc.

The only really surprise is the talent involved. This is very much Cage territory, but Guy Pearce is much better than this rent-a-villain caricature. And while director Roger Donaldson has never exactly been an auteur, he's had more than his share of well-made thrillers over a very long career. This turgid, unoriginal potboiler looks and feels like it was made by a first timer, with 'straight to VOD' written all over it.

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