Law Abiding Citizen


What the Butler Saw-ed…

Law Abiding Citizen review

So who’s worse? Crazy vigilantes after pipe-hitting justice the system won’t provide, or the Teflon-coated shysters who profit from everyone else’s pain?

Law Abiding Citizen attempts to address this pertinent social issue for, ooh, the opening credits sequence, before deciding it can’t be bothered and would much rather pig out on bits nicked from the likes of Cape Fear, The Silence Of The Lambs and Se7en, before sicking them all up into a pulpy mess.

At least it wastes no time setting out its stall. When Clyde Shelton’s (Gerard Butler) soft-focus idyll is shattered by family-murdering rapists, his smug lawyer Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx) cuts a deal to let one of the perps go free. This, understandably, winds Clyde up a bit, resulting in elaborately conceived scalpels-and-blowtorches homemade vengeance.

But once Shelton’s in chokey, the payback kills keep coming – and as a supporting cast of judges and lawyers are dispatched one-by-one via exploding cellphones, car bombs and remotecontrolled machine guns, the inevitable race against time to stop him before things “get Biblical” (Shelton’s words) ensues.

Is he the bad guy? Is he the good guy? Does anyone care? Given it’s directed by F Gary Gray (who brought you A Man Apart and the Italian Job remake), LAC was never going to be a nuanced critique of the US justice system.

The problem is, it half-heartedly tries to be, and when moral hectoring is stirred in with comic-book revenge and Grisham-esque legal drivel, it gets hard to swallow.

The saving grace is Butler’s hamtastic Lecter-like evil genius – he just about counters Foxx’s punchable performance. But still this schizoid movie barely has enough oomph to function as a bone-headed action flick, let alone have anything of value to actually say.


Could have made for a decent enough B-movie renter if it had just aimed a bit lower, but the moral drum-banging only serves to throw its failings into even sharper relief

Film Details

User Reviews

    • KATELM76

      Dec 9th 2009, 13:44


      I was unsure what I would make of this film, as I read some bad reviews, but to the most I disagree with most of them! I enjoyed the film from the beginning to near the end. Butler was excellent, Foxx was as good as ever. I was a bit disappointed with the ending as I was waiting for more of a climax than you receive, which is why I've given 3 instead of 4 stars.

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    • captainchod

      Jan 12th 2010, 13:16


      Daft bit of fun. Worth a watch on a weekend evening with your mates

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    • dannynitro

      Mar 2nd 2010, 18:23


      I was looking forward to seeing this film from the first time I saw the trailer, I love revenge movies. Death Sentence, Man on Fire, The Crow, The Brave One and The Punisher are amongst my favourites. Law Abiding Citizen slips in easily amongst them, surpassing the majority with ease. When I watch a revenge movie I don't want a commentary on the failings of the US justice system, and in my opinion, they don't really try to give us one. Yes, there are references to it but they are in keeping with the plot and I didn't feel it was an overbearing part of the story. I would recommend this film to anyone who liked the trailer, it's not life changing, it's not an oscar botherer and it's not a heart wrenching emotional roller coaster. It's a damn good revenge movie that does exactly what it says on the tin, explosions, homicidal mobiles, remote control machine guns and 'biblical' one liners. Great stuff.

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    • hulk68

      Apr 15th 2010, 12:59


      Its full of loop holes and nonsense. Digging your batman cave way up to the prison, stupid. However, it was kind of enjoyable and the characters are likabke but yes you dont care much about them. Average.

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    • Jareth64

      Jul 3rd 2012, 11:53


      Well I found this enjoyable indeed. The performances and production values are terrific, and even though the film is very violent and implausible it's escapism at its best! The critics have panned this film (25% on Rotten Tomatoes) but the fans have enjoyed it (77% positive rating). Well worth a view!

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