Film Reviews

LAW ABIDING CITIZEN

By • Oct 17th, 2009 •

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Revenge is a dish best served cold by a very angry, naked Gerard Butler.

Yes, LAW ABIDING CITIZEN is a revenge fantasy, but do we really want to see the real life-stealing, agonizing paperwork of prosecutors and police officers? Do we really need to see Gerard Butler’s character digging a hole for 10 years?

Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler) is a mild-mannered family man with a young daughter and a beautiful wife. A home invasion ends with Clyde wounded and his wife and daughter murdered. The sadistic thugs are caught but the assistant D.A., Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx), intent on maintaining his stellar conviction record, makes a sweet deal with one of the killers for a few years in prison. The other one gets the death sentence. Clyde is not happy.

Every time I watch a 48 Hours Mystery and I see husbands who kill their wives and spend the next 10 years happily with a new family, I wonder: “Where were the parents of the wife? Why didn’t the woman’s father or grandmother kill the bastard? Do eighty-year olds really do hard time? Do senior citizens become “pillow biters” (male) or “butched in” (female) convicts?

Jamie Foxx understands. Foxx told Parade magazine: “If it had been my daughter who was barely a teenager – my daughter is 15 – Roman Polanski would be missing…”.

Clyde has the means and intelligence to seek revenge. His plan takes 10 years to implement. In fact, his mission is to kill everyone involved with the case.

A genius and self-made millionaire, Clyde has done his homework and invested a great deal of money in killing off every official and office clerk that pushed through the plea deal. But Rice was the true architect of the arrangement.

When the death row inmate is finally put to death in a horrific manner, there is only one suspect. Clyde plays a cat-and-mouse game confusing Rice and the entire law enforcement community right up to the mayor.

Put in prison, Clyde continues a killing rampage. Clyde’s revenge has causalities and he doesn’t care if file clerks are killed. Not one secretary bolts. Rice finds out that Clyde isn’t your average maniac but a highly-trained master Kung Fu killer trained by the U.S. government. Clyde is a one-person army with a hi-tech factory and unlimited funds.

Your loyalties are clearly with Clyde until bystanders are killed and he tells Nick he is going to kill everyone.

Nick has a crisis of conscience, nicely expressed by Foxx. He did make the deal with the killer who breezed by with just a few years in prison for two savage murders.

Butler, who serves as an Executive Producer (which means he wasn’t forced into doing a 300 nude scene*), ditches his accent and is an effective villain we agree with. His scenes with Foxx are those standard pas-de-deux between two male stars we expect and demand.

Yes, Clyde doesn’t kill with finesse but with SAW cruelty. It brings an initial shock to the audience but is highly effective in adding a thrill to the movie.

*When asked if the naked picture is really him, Jamie Foxx admitted the Tonight Show that “it is me”. Conan O’Brien then congratulated the star and shook his hand. Foxx had a really good explanation I don’t believe, but here it is: Foxx said the full frontal photograph was shot by himself when he was shooting the Miami Vice movie. He sent it to his make-up artist for a before-and-after comparison of his physical training for a nude scene. Foxx told Conan it has impressed the ladies and increased his gay fan base.


Victoria Alexander lives in Las Vegas, Nevada and answers every email. You can contact Victoria directly at masauu@aol.com.

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3 Responses »

  1. “Every time I watch a 48 Hours Mystery and I see husbands who kill their wives and spend the next 10 years happily with a new family, I wonder: “Where were the parents of the wife? Why didn’t the woman’s father or grandmother kill the bastard? Do eighty-year olds really do hard time? Do senior citizens become “pillow biters” (male) or “butched in” (female) convicts?”

    Priceless. Scary, and odd, but still priceless.

  2. Great movie until the end part which suck really bad, i can’t believe the writer didn’t think of a better elaborated ending…

  3. Law Abiding Citizen ending sucks a#$%^&*(
    The writer should work for disney.
    Thanks for turning a possibly 8 out of 10 movie into a 1.5 out of 10.
    People forgive slow beginnings but NOT s#$% endings.

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