After his wife is raped and mugged one night while walking back to her car, in the hospital, Will Gerard (Cage) is approached by a mysterious suited man (Pearce) offering justice for the crime. In return for dealing with the attacker, Simon just asks for the favour to be repaid in the future, only when Will’s time comes around, he’s less than forthcoming in doing what they ask, and finds himself embroiled in a much wider conspiracy, and battling against an underground organisation that will stop at nothing until they get what they want.
The concept of the is very strong; that a group finds justice for crimes where the police struggle to implement a fitting punishment, is a clever idea, but that potential is wasted. In the hands someone like Christopher Nolan, Justice could have been another mesmerising blockbuster along the lines of Inception, but just to mention the two in the same breath does Nolan’s epic a great disservice.
Escalating in stupidity by the minute, and falling foul of nonsensical plot twists and a real lack of intelligence or grit, Justice feels like the sort of thriller you can catch on late night Channel 5. That the film is getting a theatrical release, is something of a surprise, but big names on the poster attempt to mask the problem that this deserves nothing more than straight-to-DVD.
Those big names put in adequate performances; it’s a Knowing sort of turn by Nicolas Cage, rather than his more eye-catching work in Kick-Ass or Bad Lieutenant, while January Jones is fine and Guy Pearce plays the classic calculated villain as you’d have always expected. An entertaining side-role for LOST’s Harold Perrineau as well, perhaps raises the biggest smile.
Taking charge behind the camera, Roger Donaldson, here, is little more than a director for hire, and Justice is similarly lacking in style and flair as was his last film, The Bank Job. Screenwriter Robert Tannen’s inexperience is a chronic problem too, as he fails to make the most of an interesting idea, in particular during the final act.
Without the ambition to ever do anything more, Justice is a lacklustre, low-grade thriller that you’d be disappointed by had it not set its standards so cripplingly low. That you should expect so little, however, doesn’t make this a good film, never mind one that even infrequently entertains, as justification for why it hits the silver screen is very much open to debate.