Vigilante movies have been a staple of the Hollywood scene for years, ranging from Charles Bronson in Death Wish (1971) to Jodie Foster in Neil Jordan's The Brave One (2007). The latest variation on a theme comes from Kiwi director Roger Donaldson, whose list of thrillers includes impressive offerings such as No Way Out (1987) and Dante's Peak (1997).
Justice (or Seeking Justice, as it is known in the US) is set in post Katrina New Orleans and follows the fortunes of schoolteacher Nic Cage. A man without a care in the world, Cage enjoys his job, loves his wife (January Jones) and spends his evenings playing chess with best mate Harold Perrineau.
Our hero's idyllic world crumbles around his knees, however, when his wife is brutally assaulted and raped (right in the middle of one of his chess sessions). While awaiting news in the hospital, Cage is approached by Guy Pearce who announces himself as the head of a shadowy vigilante group. Given that the bad guy might never be caught, or may only receive a light sentence, Pearce can ensure that he will receive the ultimate punishment for his crime. Before long, Cage has entered into a Faustian pact that leads to a situation that spirals out of his control.
On paper, Justice has a decent story to tell. Unfortunately the film is let down by a weak script and an increasingly preposterous series of plot twists. On the acting front, Cage delivers one of those over-the-top roles that never convinces, while both January Jones and Guy Pearce are wasted in one-note roles. (Someone needs to find a role for Jones that can utilise the talents she displays every week on Mad Men.)
File under what might have been.