Thursday, October 29, 2009

Law Abiding Citizen (Or Nonsensical Maniac)

Law Abiding Citizen is a pretty disappointing movie. It actually had the potential for the first 15 minutes or so to be a good, but it eventually unravels into a poorly written mess. The movie is billed as the story of Clyde Shelton (played by Gerard Butler of 300 fame) who lost his wife and daughter to murder getting revenge on those who did it and the people of the justice system (including the District Attorney Nick Rice, played by Jamie Foxx) that struck a deal to let one of the murderers out after only five years of jail. I went in expecting a story of righteousness similar to A Time to Kill, but the movie ends up being pretty far from it.

The problem is that Butler's Shelton ends up killing a ton of innocent people to prove his point, the flaws that he tries to point out in the justice system make no sense, and by the end of the movie, you really feel no pity for him at all anymore. That'd be fine if the movie was the story of some psycho killer like Silence of the Lambs, but that's not what it's meant to be. The movie also suffers from bad and cliched writing. A lot of parts don't make any sense, and Foxx's Rice is full of one liners that no real lawyer says except for in the movies (i. e., "It's not what's true. It's not what you can prove."). And the mayor, played by Viola Davis (Antwone Fisher, Syriana), really has nothing but over-the-top lines that will make you roll your eyes.

All this being said, the movie still has some entertainment value. Shelton comes up with some pretty crazy ways to kill people. And the movie keeps a nice quick pace. But it really had the potential to be much better than it was.

Bottom line: I wouldn't bother. (D)

Here's the preview:

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