Law Abiding Citizen Reviews
Firstly, all characters are wholly flat and featureless; there is no depth or anything of interest in any of them, the film is just comprised of stock characters. Gerard Butler co-stars as 'Clyde Shelton', a seemingly omnipotent God-like figure who appears to be stronger and more capable than the FBI, the Philadelphia Police Department and various other judicial bodies combined. He's on a mission to correct the judicial system, which he deems to have failed him after the murder of his wife and child. His extraordinary tactility and expertise are tenuously explained in a frivolous scene in which a back story is given to Shelton, a cliched story of how he was a human disposal expert, the character predictably saying "He was the best". His superhuman capabilities are all very convenient, but I don't think he's all that bright, he clearly makes everything much harder for himself. Once the credits roll, it becomes apparent that the plot has one gaping hole, there was no reason for Clyde Shelton to want to be in prison, it would be a completely illogical decision for him to want to be there; you'll know what I'm talking about if you decide to see it. Besides this fatal flaw, there are the ways in which he exacts revenge, they become increasingly nonsensical and boring as the film progresses.
All of this absurdity is fatally compounded by the fact it takes itself seriously. I expected to enjoy this film in a similar way I enjoyed 'Commando', a film which is implausible too, but works through caricatures, hilariously bad acting and fantastically corny one-liners. In 'Law Abiding Citizen' however, there was barely a grain of humour. Despite this, the film gave me one laugh, a scene in which a particularly irritating, somewhat cliched character is inexplicably killed by means of a maliciously modified mobile phone.
This juvenile, unbelievably far-fetched narrative means Law Abiding Citizen is boring. It makes the mistake of adopting a serious approach on a script that appears to have been written by an eleven year-old, but even with humour and interesting performances, I doubt this film could be salvaged. The film is just a brain dead heap of cheap viscera manufactured for the multiplexes; it speaks volumes for today's audience's tastes.
"How do you stop a killer who is already behind bars?"
Law Abiding Citizen is an unrealistic film with plot holes aplenty. It's also an extremely fun and entertaining one. The fun outweighs the negative aspects of the movie and makes for a really enjoyable thriller. The movie doesn't waste any time jumping into the brutal nature and violence that will fill the one hour and forty five minute running time. It's a nonstop action and violence extravaganza, with more than a few twisted killings. The premise is cool, even if it leads us down a predictable path.
The film opens on Clyde with his family. He hears a knock on his door and when he answers it, two robbers beat him down and enter the house. They kill his family and leave him for dead. He doesn't die though. One of the killers makes a deal with the prosecutor, that allows the other suspect to be killed, but he will get out after three years. This doesn't make Clyde very happy. The plot jumps ahead ten years after these events and that's when the movie really starts.
Law Abiding Citizen isn't as good as I had initially thought after my first viewing a few years ago. With a second watch, I still really enjoy, but I found a lot of things about it bothersome that I must have missed in all of the excitement the first time around. Good thing I don't watch movies like Law Abiding Citizen for their realism. As all the critics will point out, it isn't realistic. No shit.
Overall, it is a fun, action filled ride with solid performances from both Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler, who play off each other extremely well. It manages to be thrilling, but not suspenseful, as everyone and their mother knows how movies like this will eventually turn out.
Suspenseful, upsetting, amazing, unpredictable, a must watch!
The film is still better than a lot of reviews I received for it though.