Review: Law Abiding Citizen

Leave your brain at the door and you will probably enjoy this violent, compelling tale of justice and revenge.  Turn your brain on, and you will probably be able to drive a car through the plot holes.

I had heard very mixed reviews when it came to this movie.  One site I trust had done two assessments – a “wow, this movie was kickass!” review and a “it would be time better spent trying to determine of loonies were flammable than watching this trash” review.  I was a little torn but I still wanted to plunk my $9.50 down and see if there was anything appealing for me.

A father (300’s Gerard Butler) feels betrayed by a hotshot lawyer (Jamie Foxx) after his wife and daughter are killed the lawyer makes a bargain with their killers.  That’s the first 15 minutes.   The rest of the movie is a revenge piece as daddy dearest goes after anyone and everyone who was involved in the injustice….even from a prison cell.  How does he do it?  Is he working alone?  Is he right?  All questions you ask yourself while cars are blowing up and inmates are being stabbed in the neck.  Not so much a “feel good” movie.

So what do you want from a dark revenge movie?  Bad people getting what’s coming to them?  Well that sort of  happens.  Gerard does a great job portraying a father who has found a new agenda and focus after the savage murder of his family.  His wish list – kill everyone and they might learn that making deals with killers doesn’t solve anything.  (yeah… I know.  Remember I said turn your brain off).  It was easy to feel sympathy for the character initially but after a while, he’s killing people that really didn’t do anything wrong.  At all.  Any feelings you have for his plight, give way to a numbness that doesn’t really help you like the dad.    Ok, we get it.  You’re life sucks and you want revenge…um, you can stop now.  Aaaaaaanytime.

Jamie Foxx’s lawyer could really have been played by anyone.  He didn’t do much with the role but didn’t hurt it either.  He’s just kind of there to feel overwhelmed and frustrated at the mess he caused.  No one else in the movie stands out at all.  Lots of faces you may recognize from other stuff but no one that shines the light away from the leads.

As for the plot…they really want you to just go with it.  There’s so many coincidences and laws that break the space/time continuum that if you try to overanalyze it, you’ll just hurt yourself.  I can’t ask questions to myself like: Wait a sec, how did he get there before him? or, what if they put him in a different cell? and still highly recommend this movie.  So I’m not.

2 stars – it’s a renter.  The character’s were engaging enough and though it won’t win any Oscars, there are worse ways to spend your time (I’m looking at you Momma Mia!).

Coming Attractions:
Michael Jackson’s This is It: I don’t want to watch this.  I don’t want to want to watch this.  I love the music of Michael Jackson but the singer kind of leaves a bit to be desired on the “he’s a decent human being” scale.  However, I dare anyone not to want to see this after watching the trailer.  Put on the mental blinders and get stoked for the music you grew up on and one of the best entertainers who ever lived.

Randomly Recommended
Mystery, Alaska (1999) – I’m going with less obvious recommendations this week that are still connected to the reviewed film – Colm Meany is the common denominator and he’s in quite a few movies I’d suggest (Intermission, Layer Cake) but Burt Reynolds, hockey, and Russell Crowe says winner to me.   Great sports movie with a very “underdog against the odds” feel.  Wasn’t expecting much when I watched it and look…now I’m recommending it.

Equilibrium (2002)– the writer of Law Abiding Citizen directed this. Christian Bale (pre-Batman) and Taye Diggs (easy ladies) live in a fascist future where emotion is not tolerated.  Cool action scenes, decently acted, neat concept and one word says it all: gun-kata.  Flex your sci-fi muscle and rent it.

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  1. Just as I suspected. I’m not even going to rent it now. I can see senseless violence on the news.

  2. With lines like “fuck your pommes frites” how can you go wrong?

    I thought this movie was ridiculous but entertaining. I think that I may be biased though because I am madly in love with Gerard Butler. Was it just me or was the naked arrest scene the best part?….I think so.

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