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Law Abiding Citizen so bad it should be illegal

Law Abiding Citizen so bad it should be illegal

Source: AssociatedPress

By: Christy Lemire

Critic's Rating: 3/5

Friday 16 October 2009

Movie Title

Law Abiding Citizen so bad it should be illegal

Director

Star Cast

Gerard Butler, Jamie Foxx, Viola Davis

The real mystery of Law Abiding Citizen isn't how Gerard Butler's character manages to wreak explosive, bloody havoc on Philadelphia while confined behind the walls of his jail cell.

What's truly baffling is how the star of the hugely successful 300 has managed to make yet another questionable movie choice since then, following P.S. I Love You, The Ugly Truth and Gamer. (To be fair, RocknRolla was a good fit for him and it was a lot of fun.)

This time, Butler serves as a producer and stars as Clyde Shelton, who watched helplessly as his wife and young daughter were murdered during a home invasion. Ten years later, he's out for revenge ? not just against the killer who went free after testifying against his accomplice, but against the entire judicial system. Clyde's impossible omniscience and his sadistically convoluted game-playing feel like a rip-off of the Saw franchise, and the banter he shares with Nick makes Law Abiding Citizen seem like a poor man's Silence of the Lambs. His tactics become so predictable, you know the second you hear a ringing cell phone or see a character climb into a car that something is going to blow up real good, real soon.

F Gary Gray (The Italian Job) dully directs Kurt Wimmer's over-the-top script with a misty, bleached-out aesthetic that only makes the movie feel like more of a drag. The mind wanders; distracting questions arise. If Clyde has been focused on nothing but revenge for the past 10 years, how can he afford all the high-tech explosives and ammunition he's amassed? Having seen human lives taken right before his eyes and knowing their value, does he feel even vaguely remorseful about killing others? And what sort of ice cream might taste good once the movie is over?

Law Abiding Citizen asks us to remain firmly on Clyde's side even as the body count of decent, innocent people piles up, but it's a tough request. He's meant to be not just a purveyor of vigilante justice but a crusader. But he gets off on the carnage too much, and the empty, repetitive conversations he has with Nick do nothing to humanize either man. And so in the end, all we're left with are ticking time bombs and a chunk of our own time that we'll never get back.

Law Abiding Citizen, an Overture Films release, is rated R for strong bloody brutal violence and torture, a scene of rape, and pervasive language.

Running time: 101 minutes

Rating: One star out of four

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