A lot of famous faces populate the courtroom in this overplotted and farfetched tale of jury-tampering, but they and the horse they rode in on are all so mired in illogical, head-scratching incoherence, they need lawyers of their own.
As in all his films, there's a sense that honest human emotion bores Fleder, but he gets points for packing the trial with fine character actors, all of them adept at wringing humor and poignancy from cliche.
Runaway Jury is a runaway movie; it keeps building tension only to let it deflate like a saggy balloon, and it squanders its potential by piling on too many plot turns, too many characters, too much visual noise.
The movie hums along with a kind of sublime craftsmanship, fueled by the consistent performances of Hackman and Hoffman, the remarkable ease of John Cusack, and the juicy typecasting in the supporting roles.
Although the twists are pulpy and the legal foundations feel wildly porous, Fleder, a practiced hand at TV-cop stuff and movie thrills, makes the film a faster, more agile bundle of entertainment than the book.