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Law Abiding Citizen
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Reviewed on 2009-10-16
Received[3]  out of 4 stars
GenreDrama / Thriller
Two Reviews below, first by Keith Cohen and then by Jolene Mendez.

Gerard Butler ("300" and "The Ugly Truth") and Jamie Foxx ("Ray," "Dreamgirls" and "The Soloist") star in this nail-biting suspense thriller that pulls the rug out from under you.

Clyde Shelton (Butler) is an everyday guy living in a Philadelphia suburb. His whole world changes one evening with a knock at the door. Two thugs break into his house. They rape and kill his wife and teenage daughter. He is beaten to a pulp with a baseball bat.

The prosecutor of the criminal case, Nick Rice (Foxx), doesn't give Clyde the opportunity to testify. He enters into a plea bargain figuring that some justice is better than none at all. One of the crooks gets the death sentence. The other is set free after spending three years in prison.

After this prologue, the movie fast forwards 10 years. The execution by lethal injection of one of the criminals goes horribly wrong. The other felon is tortured and murdered in a gruesome manner. Clyde has turned into a vengeance-driven sociopath and decided to bring down the whole corrupt system of justice. He goes way beyond "an eye for an eye."

The most amazing thing is that Clyde pulls the strings and orchestrates a systematic series of murders from his prison cell.

Director F. Gary Gray ("The Italian Job") and screenwriter Kurt Wimmer ("Street Kings" and "The Thomas Crown Affair") keep you guessing with a cleverly conceived and well-executed story that is full of twists, turns and booby traps. The movie makes it hard to decide who should be cheered as the hero and booed as the villain.

Butler and Foxx have great dramatic chemistry and play well off each other. They engage in strategic mind games that remind you of ardent adversaries competing in an intricate chess game.

The movie combines bursts of humor with thrilling action that turns brutal and bloody. Viola Davis ("Doubt") makes the biggest impression in the supporting role of the mayor of Philadelphia.

The crystal clear cinematography and superb lighting make effective use of aerial views of the City of Brotherly Love. The movie proceeds at a rivetingly brisk pace and never lets up on the accelerator.

Avid filmgoers, particularly from the baby boomer generation, may recall fondly the late Charles Bronson ("Death Wish"), who often starred in similar movies as a rugged, weather-beaten, tough guy who took the law into his own hands to right a wrong.

Review By:
Keith Cohen "The Movie Guy"


Review Below By:
Jolene Mendez of

3.5 out of 4 Stars

Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler make quite the pair in "Law Abiding Citizen". Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler) is an inventor with a loving family. Instantly one day changes everything. Clyde is attacked in a home invasion and his wife and daughter are murdered, while he is left as the sole survivor. When the parties involved in the home invasion are captured they are forced with a possible plea bargain. When the DNA evidence becomes inadmissible in court a plea deal seems to be the only way to guarantee justice.

Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx) is the district attorney who makes the plea deal, despite Clyde's arguments. Clyde is disgusted by Nick's bargaining and becomes intent on payback for the injustice following his wife and child's murder. Ten years pass by and it comes time for the execution of one of the men involved. The death row victim does not peacefully die, rather a tragic event happens and he suffers. Obvious foul play is involved and Nick and his team begin to look for who might be implicated.

When they discover the other man involved in the murder, which was released after serving only five years, has turned up dead they quickly turn to Clyde as a suspect. Clyde is apprehended but the murders seem to continue. Clyde insists that he was served an injustice and people will continue to die, as he plans to bring the whole system down on Nick's head.

"Law Abiding Citizen" is a sizzling hot thriller that will have you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. The film is gory and outlandish, but proves how many criminals are getting off the easy way. Gerard Butler as the devastated father was immaculate. Jamie Foxx's stern DA performance proved to be a scene-stealer. Combining the two offered a masterpiece for cinema lovers. It's not a logical film, but very entertaining and that's what I like from a movie. "Law Abiding Citizen" may possibly the best thriller since "Seven". Jump on for a thrilling ride and enjoy every twist and turn that lies ahead.

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