Review: Like many action-revenge movies, Law Abiding Citizen starts strong. The intro scene is always graphic. There is a trigger for why he must take the law into his own hands and before you know it, he is Superman.
Of course, someone who takes the law into his own hands is no original plot. But, in pop movies like these I am not expecting fresh ideas and groundbreaking material. Give me some solid acting, hardcore action and most importantly, a respectably believable plot line and I’m happy. Law Abiding Citizen failed on the believable part, which unfortunately ruined a potentially enjoyable movie.
The director F. Gary Gray is clearly one of the most gifted directors of this generation. I can only assume he started with a messy script and tried his best to make it work. The implausible, like Butler’s character’s laughable demands and epic revenge sequences with no explanations, leave you with a “Huh?” rather than a “Wow!” The man seeking revenge might have been more believable if he was a psychic with X-Men gifts or a god sitting in jail, magically having the power to create chaos behind bars.
The action is good, but the scenarios are so outlandish that it’s hard to enjoy the big explosions. Butler as the family man-turned-psycho is a treat to watch. Jamie Foxx effectively slips right into his role of the heartless lawyer. Viola Davis, who plays the Mayor of Philadelphia, doesn’t appear until an hour into the movie — you could basically describe her role as a cameo, which was a disappointment. Actually, what might’ve saved the movie is if Viola Davis was the one who was wronged by the justice system and seeking revenge. Ms. Viola could read the back of a Listerine bottle and make it award-worthy!
Law Abiding Citizen is in theaters now.