A promising opening is blown by increasingly moronic and derivative plot twists and characters in this legal thriller based on a novel by John Katzenbach. Sean Connery is winning in the sort of role that suits him best, a great lion of intellect and gravity (in this instance, a lawyer), at the peak of his profession and aware of it. With his bushy eyebrows arching with accusation and a gruff growl of a voice letting anyone in range know that his is an ego with which to be reckoned, Connery is terrific. Too bad that there's nothing else to recommend the film, a tired mess that collapses to its narrative knees by the end of act two, delivering a finale that's meant to feel "slam bang" but instead surprises only in its sheer obviousness. Add to that some creative choices that should get screenwriter Jeb Stuart and producer turned director Arnold Glimcher fined for artistic larceny. The two most serious of their offenses? First, wasting Ed Harris in a role cribbed from Donald Sutherland's character in Backdraft (1991), which was in turn stolen wholesale from the Hannibal Lecter character in the Thomas Harris novels that inspired Manhunter (1986) and The Silence of the Lambs (1991). Second, setting up an audience to believe in the first half hour or so of Just Cause (1995) that it's about to witness a probative character study, when in fact viewers are about to be served a mystery with all the depth of a Murder, She Wrote episode.
by Karl Williams review