Nic Cage has been in a flurry of activity since the IRS closed in on him in 2009, and, like the proverbial stopped clock, his promiscuous work habits land him in an altogether watchable movie once a year. So, then, Seeking Justice: Cage is Will, a New Orleans high school teacher who spends days trying to civilize his students with Shakespeare sonnets, his evenings at chess club, and comes home to a concert cellist wife (January Jones). The fabric of their cultured existence is rent asunder when she's assaulted, and Will is contacted in the hospital waiting room by a mysterious figure called Simon (Guy Pearce), who offers to eliminate the culprit in return for "a favor." This deal with the devil leaves Will obligated to a vigilante syndicate — they operate something like the trading-murders scheme of Strangers on a Train on a large scale — whose enemies have a tendency to end up dead. As the chase commences, veteran director Roger Donaldson (No Way Out, Dante's Peak), cleanly handling action tumult in highway overpasses and abandoned shopping malls, comes off very much the old pro. Working with a pip of a premise, Seeking Justice is the kind of effective middle-range pulp thriller that has lately become an endangered species.