Jodie Foster takes back the night as a proto-feminist Batman in The Brave One, a revenge fantasy by Neil Jordan in which Foster’s Erica Bain goes all vigilante on Manhattan’s male cretins after a trio of street thugs beat her senseless and murder her fiancé (Naveen Andrews) during a nighttime stroll through Central Park. This initial attack vaguely evokes the Central Park jogger case, while Erica’s later slaying of two African-American hoods on the subway recalls the Bernard Getz shooting, but such allusions don’t mean that Jordan’s film has anything thought-provoking to say about vengeful impulses. Erica is aided in her transformation from a quiet public radio show host into the wrath of God by a series of thoroughly contrived encounters, as the born-again badass more or less stumbles upon different variations of wretched degenerates (abusive husband, gang-banger, pimp, white-collar gangster) every time she steps out of the front door and into the city streets she knows so well. Jordan tilts his camera whenever Erica’s mental state gets a little wonky, a bit of aesthetic clunkiness to match his bumbling treatment of his protagonist’s rage, which the film presents as burdensome but nonetheless wholly righteous, regardless of the gotta-follow-the-law opinions espoused by Terrence Howard’s straight-and-narrow – but nonetheless eerily similar to Erica – detective. Foster’s hard, stern visage and her character’s narration about the “stranger” she’s become strive to provide a commentary on the personal toll of exacting retribution. Yet full of stacked-deck plotting and a finale that more or less extols Erica’s actions, The Brave One really proves just a more superficially sober version of Death Wish.