Story: Jed (Gene Hackman) is a high powered lawyer who has made a name by taking on corporations, getting judgments for those who were wronged in the name of endless profits. His latest case is against a company that released a new vehicle that had a fatal flaw, as the gas tank could explode under certain circumstances. Jed is convinced the company knew all along and chose to release the vehicle anyway, assuming the recall costs would outweigh potential legal expenses. While he is a master inside the courtroom, Jed struggles to connect with his own daughter Maggie (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio), who seems to want to follow in his footsteps. She has a drive to prove herself, especially in her father’s eyes, so when the chance to oppose him in court comes around, she accepts. As father and daughter clash over this intense, complicated case, will justice still be served even as personal issues are hashed out in the process?

Entertainment Value: This legal drama boasts Gene Hackman and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio in the central roles, so it is no surprise that Class Action is rock solid. The narrative is capable and I was pleased to see that the family drama is fleshed out and used to enhance the courtroom drama, so it never feels tacked on. I think the basic dynamic of the relationship issue works well, but putting them on opposite sides of corporate negligence adds another layer, since it puts Maggie on the clearly wrong side, though she’s still determined to come out on top. This is a drama however, unlike some legal dramas that lean into thriller type elements or even small scale action, so the pace is deliberate and there aren’t a lot of bells & whistles. I don’t think the pace is slow at all however, just more reserved than some of its later genre peers, with the story and performances more than able to ensure things never drag whatsoever. Class Action is well crafted in all aspects, a solid legal drama with some terrific performances that earns a recommendation.

I was drawn to Class Action because of Gene Hackman and I wasn’t let down, as the movie is good and Hackman’s performance is one of the strongest elements here. Hackman is able to play Jed with great skill, bringing out his positive traits, but also showing he is flawed and human. This is crucial since we have a family drama thread involved, as it allows us to see the version of Jed that his daughter sees in him. We also see the kind, compassionate side of course, but I think it was important to see the not so good elements of Jed, to make sure the family arc lands. Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio is also excellent here, as the daughter driven to beat her father at his own game, which she shows us early on with quizzes, which of course Jed falls short on. The road to the courtroom for both characters is interesting and well written, but Hackman and Mastrantonio really deserve a lot of credit for how good their work is here. The cast also includes Laurence Fishburne, Anne Ramsay, Fred Thompson, Donald Moffat, and Jonathan Silverman.

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