69 of 81 people found the following review helpful
"Law Abiding Citizen," the new thriller with Gerard Butler and Jamie Foxx, is an interesting revenge thriller that takes the viewer to some unexpected places and provokes thoughtful conversations and introspection. Regardless of any drawbacks that the film may have, and it is certainly not perfect, it makes valid points about the sometimes arbitrary nature of the criminal justice system.
Gerard Butler stars as an engineer whose seemingly peaceful life is shattered when two men break into his house, injure him, and kill his wife and daughter. Grieving, but obviously believing that his case is clear cut, he is stunned when the young assistant DA prosecuting the case, played by Jamie Foxx, makes a deal that allows a reduced sentence for the killer of the wife and child in exchange for his testimony against the other man.
Ten years later, as the man convicted of murder is facing lethal injection, Butler's long-planned revenge plot begins to unfold. We find out that Butler is not who he has seemed to be, and that the now senior assistant DA Foxx has his hand full with a clever resourceful advesary.
This film is not for the squeamish, has several shocks and surprises, and is meditative and thoughtful. It is a suprisingly good thriller considering how bad it could have been with a lesser cast, script, and direction.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on May 5, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video
SOME SPOILERS IN HERE BUT NOT REALLY I love a good revenge movie! And this is one! Good story and an interesting M-O. I loved the idea for this movie. It chose a controvertial topic and really ran with it. The judicial system has been known to have its flaws and sometimes if people want justice they have to take it. A man (Gerard Butler) goes ape s*** for ohhhhh ten years plotting and scheming over the death of his family. Hell bent on his lack of justice after the main culprit of his family's death gets a ridiculous plea bargain. Well, this man decides to enact revenge not just on the killers, but on the whole judicial system. Because, you see, he is a war device inventing genius who has been helping the special forces for years. Sweet! Action thus ensues and you are left wondering, how the hell is he doing this stuff. Well you gotta watch to get this little tidbit. There have been complaints about the ending and while it is tough to make a truely satisfying ending to a movie that starts out so strong, it isn't that bad. But I also say judge this one for yourself and give it a watch.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on February 20, 2013
It's sad when people can make accurate jokes about a broken justice system with its technicalities and fine details. Then again, when you've been planning vengeance for ten years and have studied in all that time, what can one do besides exacting that plan? Ask Clyde, who's trying to get his late wife's rapist/child's murderer to be legally dead. Problem is, with the way the judicial system is, he could get away, and he knows it. So, after taking the law into his own hands, things play out precisely as he expects them to, including him being thrown into jail and having court procedures and hearings and getting called a "criminal" with no one giving a second thought about the cause behind his motive. But even in the courtroom does Clyde's guile play out effectively.
Throughout a whole process of exacting vengeance for his wife and daughter, he comes up with cruelly inventive ways of killing key people and "pawns" off, manipulating things to show "lessons" of what happens when people don't do things the precise way he requests them to be. And none of it is for the faint of stomach nor heart.
Though it's called "Unrated Director's Cut," it could also be called the "Original NC-17" edition since it was threatened to be that rating if they didn't shave some of the violence out. They did, as well as have additional dialogue (some comical, some just because) and things that may have improved the story, but only slightly, just to give slightly more personality to key characters.
This was a great film to have, but only watch if you can handle the extremely disturbing violent content and can handle the language used,or can handle certain shocking death sequences. Some, though I've watched this a couple times, still manage to make me jump, no matter how much I anticipated and flat-out expected them.
That just shows this has effective storytelling.
19 of 26 people found the following review helpful
I actually got Law Abiding Citizen by accident from Netflix. I was supposed to get 2012, but oddly it was Law Abiding Citizen in the 2012 case. They sent me out 2012 when I reported the issue and I watched that first. Oy, what a mistake that was, because 2012 wasn't a Disaster Movie it was a movie disaster! Anyway...
Law Abiding Citizen was a lot better than 2012. In fact as the movie played out, I thought to myself, "what a great movie." Even as the credits rolled I felt thoroughly entertained by the movie I had just watched. It had a lot of action, suspense, and it kept me guessing right up to the very end.
Then as I reflected on the film I thought more about how silly the premise of the movie is and how far-fetched what the antihero (Gerard Butler) pulls off really is. I'd love to go into detail, but I'm struggling to do so without giving away the critical twists and turns of the movie.
So let me just say this: with Law Abiding Citizen you get a pretty decent thriller about a guy (Butler) that you don't want to mess with who a couple home-invaders do indeed mess with. The bad guys get caught and Butler allows the DA (Jamie Foxx) to exact this great country's due process on the bad guys...which fails. So Butler sets a plan to take out the bad guys himself and anyone else that was involved in the failure of Due Process of Law.
But man, the way this guy chooses to make his point, and the way he ultimately carries it out are where you'll be saying, "Hold on a second there." So check your brain at the door as I did, sit back and enjoy. It's like the small rollercoaster in the amusement park...it's fun while you're riding it, but after you get off you realize it wasn't that great.
44 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2009
This movie was a lot better than I had expected. To me, it was like a mix of 'Saw' and 'Max Payne. Gerard Butler does an awesome job as a psychotic man with nothing to lose. Ten years after a home invasion that leaves his wife and daughter dead, Clyde Shelton returns to seek true justice. I love when he dismembers the man who murdered them. When Clyde is sent to jail, people are still dying in mysterious ways, and Nick Rice tries to stop it. When Rice interrogates Clyde, he wants something in return such as his iPod, and a steak. Soon, nobody feels safe leaving their homes, because they don't know where or when Clyde will strike next. Does he have an accomplice? I highly recommend LAW ABIDING CITIZEN!!!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 17, 2012
Format: Amazon Instant VideoVerified Purchase
Love it! Great movie about how the political the justice system is and a law abiding citizen getting retribution to those involved in the murders of his wife and daughter.
Jamie Foxx and Gerald Butler are amazing, must see!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2012
Law Abiding Citizen is a really awesome thriller that will keep you amazed from beginning to end. Gerard Butler did some pretty cool acting as never seen before in this movie. His role was about a man who got betrayed by the system and the necessary steps he had to take in order to bring that same system down to its knees. Gerard's justice at any cost performance really made him like a hero fighting corruption, which still continues in our society. IS THERE ANY END TO IT!!!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 13, 2010
Movie - 4.0
When I first saw the trailer for this movie, I didn't think much of it. It looked like it would've been a decent crime thriller or something of that sort, but, boy, was I wrong. Law Abiding Citizen, in fact, is a pretty good movie filled with heavy amounts of ethical and moral quandaries, metaphorical allusions to how people are responsible for their own actions, and is an eerie testament to the legal system's flaws and shortcomings. I was actually reminded a lot of The Count of Monte Cristo in how a man just loses everything, gets cheated by the system, and in about ten years time amasses a fortune to plan out this giant, masterful revenge plot against all those embedded within that system and those whom he feels have wronged both himself and the rest of society. Well, it's not as epic as the Dumas classic, but if the writers did, indeed, use it as some kind of inspiration, bravo. The thing that fascinates me the most about this film is the tension. Once you see the traumatic event that triggers Butler's character and the way he's unjustly justified through court (in a city that ironically prides itself on "justice"), how can you blame the guy for going off the deep end and putting all this chaos into action? On top of that, I've yet to even mention the predicament of the law versus vigilantism. By now, I'm sure we've all seen some example or another of how operating outside "the system" can also be thoroughly more effective than the papers and red tape of the law, or at least that's the message I get from the ending. However, in the process I feel the movie also loses quite a bit of steam when certain plot points are revealed toward the end. I also feel that there isn't enough "change" to the system itself, so much as it is for just one person. Maybe it's to illustrate the futility of how the system can't be changed and how it continues to suck, or maybe they just wanted us to get the message that revenge isn't all it's cut up to be?
Video - 4.5
Law Abiding Citizen is brought to us by Starz / Anchor Bay in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC codec at an original aspect ratio of 2.35:1 (framed at 2.39). This is the first Starz / AB Blu-ray I've ever watched, so I wasn't sure what I was getting. But to tell you the truth, it's not so bad. The film's gritty nature reflects well in the photography, which leads to a darker color palette that more or less is as vibrant as it can be. Black levels, however, are excellent with darkness and shadows being the highlight of the presentation. Contrast is also surprisingly good given the amount of dimly-lit scenes. The only faults I have are with a little loss in texture and detail in some of the closeup shots and a few instances of debris popping up here and there, which is really weird considering most recent films usually have none.
Audio - 4.5
Despite all the dialogue, the movie also is very proficient with its TrueHD 5.1 track. The dialogue is clear and free of any anomalies, and surround usage is fairly immersive during prison and other facility takes. However, the real workout comes in the bigger action sequences and through various parts of Brian Tyler's score. High/low ends are deadly accurate for the cemetery scene, with LFEs exceeding my expectations for explosions. The score is fairly quiet when need be for certain parts of the movie, but when things start getting crazy, I feel it really helps establish a good mood for the fast pace. I wouldn't quite call this a reference disc, though, as a few parts of the movie didn't feel as engaging as I thought they'd be, but this is an excellent first-time listen for me.
Extras - 3.0
There's a commentary, two main bits about legal terminology and filming, a graphics progression bit, and a bunch of trailers. The legal terminology feature was what I found most interesting. It basically breaks down the logic and reasoning behind the decisions made at the beginning of the movie, as analyzed and explained by two former Philadelphia attorneys, and makes a lot of sense. The filming feature was a short, though unorganized, look at how they shot certain scenes, came up with ideas for the writing, and so on. It was interesting on a few parts, but not as detailed as I expected. I would've liked a more in-depth interview with director F. Gary Gray about the plot.
Overall - 4.0
The movie makes for some great, great drama, exploitation of the legal system, and "what if" dilemmas. Unfortunately, the ending is a bit of a downer in that it feels "too easy" and kind of loses the overall point of trying evoke change within "the system." But a large majority of the movie is still very good and very tense. Gerard Butler and Jamie Foxx aren't on screen together a whole lot of the time, but it makes for a cool battle of wits when they do. With excellent A/V presentation and a decent set of extras, Law Abiding Citizen comes highly recommended.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 21, 2010
As one reviewer shared earlier, this is a movie that can generate many a (meaningless) chatter. It then serves its purpose as light popcorn fare since it is merely meant as entertainment, not a social thesis. And on that level, it fairly succeeds and it is a waste to exhaust any mental workouts breaking down the many, MANY bad filmmaking flaws. THE END.
But, if this doesnt help the reader any on how to approach this product, then read on ....
Why does it get a giant Megan Fox thumb's up and yet its accompanied by a only three rating? This is what is referred to as a guilty pleasure. If made well, the plot, as implausible as it may be, will keep the audience intrigued, even if just to cross the I's and T's for the viewer before they walk away. For any potential snub reader, riddle me this: what draws and continues to bring audiences back to movies such as Avatar, Star Wars, Austin Powers, Pretty Woman (a HOOKER who lands a billionaire!), It's a Wonderful Life (about a prick who gets to redeem himself only after seeing his family HAPPY without him?), Field of Dreams (a second chance of warming to your parents after shunning their existence the first time around!), etc....? It's called SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF. Now, the second element necessary to enjoy a guilty pleasure is the casting.
In order for the audience to enjoy and want to revisit pricks, hookers, idiot spies, intergalactic peacekeepers, et al. the actors must have the ability to sell the characters they are portraying, since usually the script will be inane and the writing can have you wincing. For some outrageous act of faith, Tinseltown has transformed Foxx into a bonafide star. Though not and never will be familiar with Redemption (his first Porsche), Collateral and Jarhead offered fine performances because Michael Mann and Sam Mendez are expert craftsmen who knew how to arrest his comedian/broham tendencies. If not for Butler, this movie would have been a complete disaster. And Butler will never be confused for a thespian in the Olivier, Welles, Day-Lewis, Hopkins mold either. (And yes, i am quite aware he was a stage actor in the UK).
Does anyone remember Stealth, The Kingdom, Miami Vice, Ray (which he portrayed on numerous occasions in his comedy skits!), The Soloist (even Downey, Jr. looked embarrassed)? This dude is not a professional actor, though does have a massive ego. (watch The Great White Hype, to enjoy Foxx on film).
I understand Hollywood will continue to search through coal mines (jewel metaphor reference), bar clubs (Vin Diesel), gimmick forums (wrestlers), etc.... for the next cash cow and if you were in charge of studio projects, you would as well. Blockbusters and guilty pleasures is what makes it possible to produce Oscar quality films, it's a fact. But, it doesnt mean as an audience, we have to always swallow what they attempt to feed us. So in this case, give it a spin and try to enjoy the movie's twists, violence, moral agitators for what it is, a Cape Fear/Death Wish knock-off with an atrociously misplaced main lead in the story.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 14, 2012
Clyde Shelton is a law abiding family man, and inventor. After his wife and child are brutally murdered an up and coming lawyer hands out a deal to the killer in exchange for his accomplice. Clyde isn't happy about the way the "justice system" functions. Like many of us Clyde wants to right the wrongs in our flawed legal system. He proceeds to track down and kill the man that killed his family. After being put in jail, Clyde starts killing many of the others involved in the court case. The judge and the criminal defense attorney are among his victims. The problem is that he is in jail. It's hard to commit murder when you're locked up. He is pulling it off somehow. His former lawyer, Nick Rice, is determined to bring him to justice. He learns how hard it will be after he finds out that Clyde was a CIA tactician and inventor.
This movie blew me away. The acting, story, and soundtrack are all amazing. This film has action, drama, suspense, and comedy. It's pretty well rounded, and a major thrill ride. You don't wanna miss Law Abiding Citizen.