“Law Abiding Citizen” follows one man’s fight against the system

October 28, 2009 | Law Abiding Citizen Reviews

This October, Gerard Butler (“300,” “Gamer”) and Jamie Foxx (“Ray,” “The Soloist”) costar in the suspenseful thriller “Law Abiding Citizen.” In this film Butler plays Clyde Shelton, a civil engineer whose wife and daughter are brutally murdered in a home invasion.

Foxx plays Nick Rice, an ambitious attorney with a 96 percent conviction rate who is prosecuting the two robbers. Since forensic evidence proves to be inconclusive, Rice cuts a deal with Clarence Darby (one of the two thieves) to testify against his accomplice so that he can guarantee a victory in court. Shelton is outraged with this deal because Darby is the man who actually killed his family.

Ten years later, on the day that Darby’s accomplice is to receive a lethal injection for his crimes, something goes horribly wrong. Instead of having a painless death, Darby’s accomplice violently convulses and bleeds out in front of a room of witnesses, including Nick Rice. Clyde Shelton then kidnaps Darby and tortures him until he dies. After Darby’s body is discovered the police, Shelton and Rice attempt to get a confession from him.

Meanwhile other people who were involved in the Darby case are being murdered by various traps while Shelton sits in solitary confinement. Rice later learns that Shelton is a former CIA operative who specialized in killing people without ever laying a finger on them.

As the movie plays out, the entire city of Philadelphia is brought to its knees by one man in prison who is still finding ways to kill people.

“Law Abiding Citizen” is an intriguing murder mystery that features excellent performances by both Butler and Foxx. Gerard Butler demonstrates that he is not only a great action star but also an all around great actor, as he portrays one of the best cinematic villains since Heath Ledger’s Joker. While Jamie Foxx’s character is clearly eclipsed by Butler’s, this Oscar winner still does a great job of conveying the peril of his situation.

There are also some moments in this movie that are surprisingly funny, and audiences will catch themselves cheering for Clyde Shelton as he attacks a flawed legal system. The film is shot in Philadelphia and has some excellent scenes that showcase a city that, unfortunately, does not get enough attention from Hollywood directors.

The only flaw I found in this movie is that the twist at the end is a bit farfetched in a storyline that already needs its viewers to suspend their disbelief. Overall “Law Abiding Citizen” is a fun and intense film that is sure to entertain.

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