Law Abiding Citizen
- Director:F. Gary Gray
- Cast:Leslie Bibb, Gerard Butler, Jamie Foxx, Michael Gambon
- Release Date:January 28, 2010
- Running time:109 minutes
- Film Worth:$11.00
- FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
An entertaining thrill ride which unfortunately trades thought for action.
Beneath the raucous sound effects, litres of claret and constantly moving visual trimmings, there is something deep and meaningful trying to get out of Law Abiding Citizen. But by trumping its potentially consciousness-raising elements in favour of kinetic action, this particular Citizen can only be pretty good, and not great.
Gerard Butler (300) is Clyde Shelton, a man devastated by the brutal murder of his wife and child. After suffering through this cataclysmic tragedy, he eventually snaps, going on a Falling Down-style rampage where the blood of his enemies flows like H20. The film, however, paints his murder spree as a tactical game plan rather than a crime of passion.
Law Abiding Citizen manages to rise above the morass of similarly-plotted B-movies through its implicit criticism of the US legal system. The script suggests that in America the wheels of justice turn slowly and sometimes grind to a shuddering halt - Gerard's law-abiding everyman only takes justice into his own blood-stained mits because no one else will.
What could be a startling critique of the often bloated machinations of the law mostly gets lost in the sound and fury though, as well as Clyde's transition from sympathetic crusader to unhinged madman.
Jamie Foxx plays Nick Rice, an assistant district attorney who at first empathises with Shelton but is ultimately turned against him by the unholy trail of carnage that he leaves behind. Foxx is typically charismatic but a little one-note, while Viola Davis (one of the breakout stars of the acclaimed drama Doubt) doesn't get much dramatic room to move as Philadelphia's beleaguered mayor.
While it holds much promise as an examination of the grey areas of the judicial system, Law Abiding Citizen ultimately scuttles its thoughtfulness for action, leaving it an entertaining thrill ride but not much more.