Law Abiding Citizen
I actually started off really into this movie. It had a strong beginning which introduced a thrilling and intriguing story, but my brain can only not work for so long before it starts asking questions. The suspense and action, while entertaining, can’t hide all the holes.
Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler) is a loving family man with a good life until his wife and daughter are brutally murdered. The prosecutor, Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx), strikes a deal that is not a fitting enough punishment in Clyde’s eyes. Nick’s argument is a little justice is better than no justice. Clyde spends the next portion of his life orchestrating the torture of these individuals and systematically eliminating the people within the judicial system that allowed his family’s murderer to get away with a slap on the wrist. Clyde freely admits his guilt but continues his destruction even while in custody.
Gerard Butler does a great job as the vengeful father and husband. It’s not fair comparing him to another actor but he seems to fit a Russell Crowe mold, only more likable. There is no doubt that Jamie Foxx has presence but I always have trouble looking at him and not thinking of Wanda from In Living Color. I keep waiting for him to cross his eyes and say, “I’ll rock your world” in that unattractive she man tone. Foxx did ok, but the problem here may have been more with the script. I was never rooting for him. No matter how over board Butler’s character went I was on his side and I could care less if Foxx’s character caught him. I feel like there could have been a little bit more of a cat and mouse game. It seemed like it was all mouse…or cat…or whatever one represents Butler’s character. My point is Clyde was kicking Nick’s butt the entire show and Nick kept acting like he was the smarter and I never really saw that. For being the assistant D.A. Nick actually seemed very bad at his job.
Every now and again, between some of the films excitement, we would get a not-so-thought-provoking argument about right and wrong. Later in the film we have a random guy explain Clyde’s past job and why he is so dangerous. The scene feels very out of place and it appears no one working on the film cared. It is strictly forced there, to explain to the audience how he has the means for this elaborate villain-behavior. But it was the last third of the film that really began to falter for me. Without getting into specifics, locations are conveniently placed, and details are skipped over to further the story. We even get a “too cool to look at the explosion behind you” walk and an obligatory “I’m a family man because I now attend my daughter recital with a nod of approval” scene. I chuckled aloud and I do not believe this was the filmmaker’s intent. It’s not horrible but I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s good either.