**½/**** Image B+ Sound B+ Extras A-
starring John Cusack, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, Rachel Weisz
screenplay by Brian Koppelman & David Levien and Rick Cleveland and Matthew Chapman, based on the novel by John Grisham
directed by Gary Fleder
by Walter Chaw Marked by strong performances, a liberal bias, and a few thriller conventions that work, Gary Fleder's slickefied Grisham flick Runaway Jury is slickefied Grisham flick all the same, and its cast is so huge as to threaten at every moment to be ponderous. Still, the good outweighs the bad, if only just--the picture finding a way to forget, in forgivable ways, dozens of admittedly inconsequential characters while delivering on the juicy promise of a showdown between its titans: Gene Hackman and Dustin Hoffman. (In a courthouse outhouse, no less.) At bottom and at the least, it's a lefty screed--this one against gun manufacturers--that isn't witheringly embarrassing (thinking of such miscalculated stroke jobs as The Contender, John Q, and The Life of David Gale)--and as an Austrian bodybuilder finds himself the governor of La La Land on no other merit than that he married royalty and was cunning enough to make a fortune from playing hunks of metal and pre-Christian barbarians, a left-leaning movie not similarly dimwitted and exasperating is cause for minor celebration.