Traumatized by the atrocious murders of his wife and daughter — and the flawed justice system that set the killers free — Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler) gives in to his rage and sets out on a course of vengeance. He soon takes on not only the prosecutor involved in the case, Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx), but also the city of Philadelphia. F. Gary Gray (Italian Job) directs this crime thriller co-stars Viola Davis and Michael Gambon.
Rating: 2 out of 10
There are films that rely heavily on the audience to accept the unacceptable. Without that trait, how could we believe a man could fly in Superman, or a Tyrannosaurus Rex was chasing people down in Jurassic Park, or Michael J. Fox running away from Biff’s Grandson in Back to the Future 2 on a hover board. We accept the absurd because we want to believe in the film because it’s giving something back to us through good storytelling. But, when the storytelling is awful, we’ll poke holes in every ridiculous thing that happens onscreen. Law Abiding Citizen is part of the latter. It’s a horrendous, absurd, and terribly acted pile of shit that contains some of the worst writing I’ve ever seen. Each supposed plot twist is an insult to audience’s intelligence.(SPOILER ALERT!) I mean, we’re actually supposed to believe that a guy (Butler) decided to (bear with me here. It makes no sense, I know. But, that’s the point):
1. Exact revenge on one of the perpetrators by switching out chemicals when he was executed to make it more painful when he died.
2. After killing the second man by slicing him into bits, sends a videotape of the act to Jamie Foxx’s family. For what purpose? It’s never explained.
3. Buys a warehouse near the prison and creates series of tunnels so that one day when he’s arrested can get himself put into solitary confinement and escape through a series of trap doors to put on disguises and commit more murders. Why? Well, it makes no sense to sneak out and kill when you’ve already confessed to a murder!!!! Why wouldn’t he just avoid being arrested and do what he was going to do anyway?
I just thought of 10 more instances of absurdity but I won’t waste your time anymore. There’s one last thing I’d like to point out. Jamie Foxx is a bad actor. Yes, I know he won the Oscar for Ray and I’ll admit it was a good performance. But, that film was tailor made for him. He does an impression of Ray Charles(isn’t that what he did on sketches of In Living Color?), he plays piano(He’s a Julliard student), and he fakes that he’s blind(On the film he wore contacts to make himself blind. How is it acting if you’re actually fucking blind?). Here, he takes the leading man role and doesn’t pull it off. He just doesn’t emote and every scene feels fake. So, just like the rest of the film, we can’t accept it because they haven’t given us a reason to believe.