Movie Reviews: Law Abiding Citizen




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     Overture Films (2 hrs. 2 min.)
     An upstanding family man whose wife and daughter are brutally murdered turns vigilante.
     Jamie Foxx, Gerard Butler, Colm Meaney, Bruce McGill, Leslie Bibb, Regina Hall
Bottom Line:

Laurence Washington

“Law Abiding Citizen” is an implausible thriller that doesn’t know what kind of movie it wants to be. Or better yet, the script writers and filmmakers didn’t know what kind of a movie they wanted to make. Layered in social criticism “Law Abiding Citizen” begins as a vigilante movie in the same mold as the original “Death Wish” (‘74) when law abiding citizen, Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler) witnesses his wife and daughter brutally raped murdered during a home invasion. When the killers are caught, Nick Rice (Jamie Fox), an ambitious up and coming Philadelphia prosecutor, is too worried about his conviction rate to adequately punish the killers. So like an episode of “Law and Order” he makes a deal with the killers in exchange for a lighter sentence. “Little justice is better than no justice,” Rice says. This of course doesn’t sit too well with Shelton, who begins a gruesome murderous rampage of revenge against the killers.

Shelton is caught by authorities, admits his guilt and plans to administer more revenge against the flawed justice system that failed his family. Shelton becomes a sociopath killers like those who murdered his family as the movie now shifts to a terrorist film.  Shelton starts murdering member of Philadelphia’s justice system through a series of assassinations each more diabolical than the last. The film’s whole premise hangs on Shelton’s uncanny ability to terrorize the city of “Brotherly Love” from his prison cell. Rice discovers that Shelton is an ex-CIA assassin whose specialty is killing people without being in the same room with them.

At times "Law Abiding Citizen" can be a taunt and entertaining thriller as Rice helplessly watches his colleagues being systematically murdered one by one and knowing he’s Shelton’s last target. If “Law Abiding Citizen,” was on television, it would be a better show, but as a movie there’s very little to recommend it. We’ve seen it all before.



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