I really have no idea what to think of this film. Is it bad? Well, it’s not terrible. Is it good? It certainly won’t win any Oscars, but as I said, it isn’t awful.
I like the premise. Gerard Butler wants to avenge his family’s death and rectify the unjust persecution of those who committed it by basically killing anyone associated with the trial. Jamie Foxx is the career driven district attorney determined to put people behind bars and rise to the top.
I like some of the action. Chases are exciting, the intrigue is genuine, and the suspense does draw you in at times. It certainly makes the most of its 15 rating, providing some of the more stomach churning content that I’ve seen on screen in a while (partly endemic of Christmas films taking up the bulk of my recent viewing).
So far, so good? Yes, but sadly all good things must come to an end. Neither main character is particularly likeable, with Butler leaning more towards the hero than the villain. And when your hero is the one that decapitated a man, filmed it, and is now on a murderous rampage, your film has a serious problem. It’s testament to just how unlikable Foxx’s character is. Without a real rooting interest, the resolution is met with more of a shrug than a great sigh of relief or wail of sorrow.
The other, rather gaping, hole is the plot. As I said, premise is good. The plot is not however. At what point do script-writers just give up and accept that they’ve strayed from the slightly suspect to the totally nonsensical? What starts as an exciting and suspenseful asset to Butler’s character, soon gets pushed over the edge with his ability to seemingly kill anyone, anywhere, and at any time. His killing spree continues despite him being supposedly locked up in solitary, which begs the question; why is no one watching his cell?
The ending too just makes no sense, leaving the viewers with more questions than any feelings of satisfaction. How did Jamie Foxx get from city hall to prison before Gerard Butler? Why did they feel the need to kill him in such an over the top way? Did they at least evacuate the prison before the bomb went off?
Such unashamedly in your face flaws end up seeing Law Abiding Citizen limply flop over the line, rather than triumphantly bursting. It’s shame, as there was a lot of promise, but ultimately they went unkept. Oh, and Gerard Butler’s accent is utter shite. Can’t let that go unmentioned.
Image courtesy of Victor (flickr)