Thursday, October 29, 2009

Law Abiding Citizen

I’m not even gonna lie: the first act of Law Abiding Citizen is pretty good. I liked how things kicked off right away, no backstory, no tireless exposition, just send the goons in and get the movie going. I liked how the film subtly jumped ten years in one shot. I liked the fast pace and the dark tones. I was really surprised, at one point I thought, “Is this movie actually going to be good?” And then, sure enough, everything went to shit.

Gerard Butler is a loving family man who turns vengeful psycho 10 years after his wife and daughter are brutally murdered (that opening scene, by the way, is actually shot tastefully). Jamie Foxx is the assistant DA who gave one of the intruders a slim sentence due to cracks in the system. Foxx’s character is a noble guy, you see, but Butler could give a fuck. In his words he wants to “kill... everybody”.

This is where things go wrong. Okay, the dude spends 10 years masterminding this elaborate plan? I can roll with that. But why take it so far? The film may have been saved if, one: the guy only sought to kill the main people involved in the murder case (not dozens of innocent people). And two: Jamie Foxx either passed on the project or actually looked like he gave a shit. Foxx is a talented guy, as is evident in Ali, Collateral and Ray, but here it looks like he is remembering his lines at the last second, delivering them in an “ah whatever” manner.

Butler, one of the most overrated actors working in movies, caught a break with 300. But when are movie producers going to realize that 300’s huge box office draw had nothing to do with Butler? Anyone could’ve played that role. Watching him here as he desperately tries out an American accent is, to say the least, laughable.

And poor Viola Davis. An Oscar nominee for Doubt, and the scene stealer in World Trade Center, Solaris and Antwone Fisher is just wasted talent here as the mayor of Philadelphia. Someone give Davis her own movie.

But oh well.

Most young males want to see shit blow up, not analyze plot development or an actor’s timing. So as an action film, director F. Gary Gray (who’s done a much better with Friday, The Negotiator, and The Italian Job) delivers what the base wants. I guess. D+


  1. I love this film but I get why you don't like it.
    And I understand why you don't like Gerard Butler. He simply isn't such a good actor. I usually like to see a good film with him (The Phantom of the Opera, 300, Gamer, The Ugly Truth, Coriolanus, Machine Gun Preacher, Olympus Has Fallen), but when a film is with him the film is a lot worse. I personally experienced that with Keanu Reeves. He IS the worst actor in my opinion and when he is in a film he destroys nearly any enjoyment that I can have with that film.
    Okey there are many films that I like with him (The Matrix, John Wick, Point Break, Speed, A Scanner Darkly, My Own Private Idaho, Parenthood and Bill & Ted), but I enjoy the films not him. He is just the most overrated actor ever.

    1. I dig Keanu a lot as a person (Google some of the shit he's been through - he's had a horrible, horrible life), but yeah, not the strongest actor. Still, Point Break is one of my favorite films.