June 11, 2010

Rabid Rewind: Law Abiding Citizen

Title: Law Abiding Citizen
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Gerard Butler, Colm Meaney, Bruce McGill
Director: F. Gary Gray
Written by: Kurt Wimmer
Released: Alliance Film (2009)
Genre: Thriller

Have we as movie-goers over-estimated Gerard Butler as an actor? Or has Gerard Butler as an actor over-estimated his agent as someone who can provide him with quality film roles?

The litany of dismal films starring Gerard Butler in the last year alone is quite something to behold. After 300, he was a muscly darling. Now, after The Ugly Truth, Gamer, Law Abiding Citizen, and I think another movie my brain has been kind enough to wipe from memory, I dare say he's trying to overtake Sandra Bullock in the What-A-Waste Department.

Law Abiding Citizen is the kind of thriller that would have starred Harrison Ford and Kevin Spacey ten years ago. But I think the movie is even too pat and pretentious for either of those actors to consider it on their worst day.

Imagine you're a doting father who is forced to watch, while bound and gagged, the murder of your wife and daughter. Heart-wrenching stuff. It's enough to drive a man insane, which it essentially does to Clyde (Gerard Butler), especially when the A.D.A. Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx) cuts a deal with one of the murderers to testify against the other. It's okay though, because as you imagine you've gone insane as a grieving widower, you're also a genius with a history of working on spy technology with the government. How nifty. But you need ten years to plot your ludicrously elaborate and convoluted plot to exact revenge on the killers and those in the system that denied your family justice.

The machinations employed by Clyde are so tortuous, the most devious James Bond villain would shrug and say he was overdoing it.

But while Gerard Butler managed to inject a little bit of sympathy into his unbelievable character, Jamie Foxx fails to provide the least amount of likability as an overdriven and overambitious prosecutor. As the foil to Clyde's moral assertions towards the justice system, Nick is a failure because he appears to lack any real empathy. Despite being the one running around trying to save killers and judges and lawyers from being slaughtered in gruesome fashion, Nick felt like more of a villain--albeit an impotent one--than Clyde.

Between the plot and the characters, I found very little to like about this film. I don't think it's worth anyone's time to sit through it. I regret doing so myself. And from now on, I will be incredibly wary of any film that includes Gerard Butler in its cast.

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