Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler) is an upstanding family man whose wife and daughter are brutally murdered during a home invasion. When the killers are caught, Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx), a hotshot young Philadelphia prosecutor, ... more »is assigned to the case. Over his objections, Nick is forced by his boss to offer one of the suspects a light sentence in exchange for testifying against his accomplice. Fast forward ten years. The man who got away with murder is found dead and Clyde Shelton admits his guilt. Then he issues a warning to Nick: Either fix the flawed justice system, or key players in the trial will die. Soon Shelton follows through on his threats, orchestrating from his jail cell a string of spectacularly diabolical assassinations that can be neither predicted nor prevented. Only Nick can stop the killing and finds himself in a desperate race against time facing a deadly adversary who seems always to be one step ahead.« less
""Law Abiding Citizen," the new thriller with Gerard Butler and Jamie Foxx, is an interesting revenge thriller that takes the viewer to some unexpected places and provokes thoughtful conversations and introspection. Regardless of any drawbacks that the film may have, and it is certainly not perfect, it makes valid points about the sometimes arbitrary nature of the criminal justice system.
Gerard Butler stars as an engineer whose seemingly peaceful life is shattered when two men break into his house, injure him, and kill his wife and daughter. Grieving, but obviously believing that his case is clear cut, he is stunned when the young assistant DA prosecuting the case, played by Jamie Foxx, makes a deal that allows a reduced sentence for the killer of the wife and child in exchange for his testimony against the other man.
Ten years later, as the man convicted of murder is facing lethal injection, Butler's long-planned revenge plot begins to unfold. We find out that Butler is not who he has seemed to be, and that the now senior assistant DA Foxx has his hand full with a clever resourceful advesary.
This film is not for the squeamish, has several shocks and surprises, and is meditative and thoughtful. It is a suprisingly good thriller considering how bad it could have been with a lesser cast, script, and direction."
Pumpkin Man | 12/29/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This movie was a lot better than I had expected. To me, it was like a mix of 'Saw' and 'Max Payne. Gerard Butler does an awesome job as a psychotic man with nothing to lose. Ten years after a home invasion that leaves his wife and daughter dead, Clyde Shelton returns to seek true justice. I love when he dismembers the man who murdered them. When Clyde is sent to jail, people are still dying in mysterious ways, and Nick Rice tries to stop it. When Rice interrogates Clyde, he wants something in return such as his iPod, and a steak. Soon, nobody feels safe leaving their homes, because they don't know where or when Clyde will strike next. Does he have an accomplice? I highly recommend LAW ABIDING CITIZEN!!!"
Good Movie Marred By a Hackneyed Ending
alexrr1984 | 01/29/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Law Abiding Citizen features a fairly unique premise in its portrayal of a desperate man wronged by the justice system. Gerald Butler stars as Clyde Shelton, a family man who witnesses the brutal murders of his wife and child only to watch one of the killers go free after serving a short prison term. The film certainly stretches reality, and while Butler gives an incredible performance, the notion that the audience is supposed to root for a diabolical serial killer is a bit unnerving. Clyde not only dispatches the men who were responsible for the actual crime--he goes on to execute every other party involved in the legal proceedings (including innocents). The movie urges the audience to root for Clyde, even as he crafts himself into the mold of a Hannibal Lecter type villain. This premise could have worked out decently if the directors were to stick to this formula (which was done much more convincingly in Seven), but the film plunges into stupidity with a nonsensical ending that reeks of overblown sentimentality."
Outstanding Film (Bit of a contrived ending)** Some Spoilers
Dddd | 02/22/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Hi All. I saw "Law Abiding Citizen last Night, Despite what I thought was a contrived ending (I guess it needed to end that way, but I did not think that would have been a realistic ending), I Was blown away by how good this movie actually is. As an attorney, I can honestly say that there were some pretty accurate depictions of how it works in the profession. First a comment. Reading some of the negative reviews of the film, I am simply appalled at the lack of intelligence, and even moral fabric of some of the reviewers and their simple inability to follow a well thought out plot line, and terrific explanation as to how Mr. Butler was able to do what he did. Whether it could have been pulled off or not is not the issue. It is a reasonable and valid explanation for the plan that was put in place. ANd frankly it was ingenious. He had many years to put it in place so how is that so impossible?
Some of the positive and thoughtful reviews are spot on with the idea that this film, played excellently by Mr. Butler, deals intelligently with one (Suremely intelligent and gifted) man's reaction to a system he deems to be incredibly unjust. And indeed, his reaction and plan (which would not be possible if he were not so resourceful and intelligent) to Prosecutors making deals to ensure convictions, while ignoring the barbarity of crimes committed is very realistic because prosecutors are by nature very political animals who get relected through things like high conviction rates. They care little about actual victims of crimes, even though they probably did not start out that way. How many families of victims of crimes are left feeling helpless because the law did not help them, the law did not see their catastrophic pain as anything else than an opportunity to notch one more in the conviction belt. this is probably why many people are convicted wrongly anyway. It's not often enough about justice being done. I t is more often, can I get a conviction as a prosecutor, despite whether your better sense tells you that this person is innocent or guilty.
There are however prosecutors who do the right thing and would have taken this matter to trial to see ultimate justice done (even if the prosecutor had ultimately lost) simply because of the barbarity of the crimes against Mr. Butler and his family. That being said, even a conscientious proseutor may take a deal if a conviction if doubtful or hampered by police misconduct. In this instance it may have been correct, as the DNA evidence taken was deemed to be inadmissible. However, the idea that Mr. Butler, an eyewitness to what occurred, would somehow prove to be an unreliable witness is a stretch. I would have taken my chances with a jury convicting the criminals, and my chances with Clyde Shelton (Butler) as a witness. Mr. Butler's idealistic rant during his bail proceeding is very realistic in the sense of a layman who does not understand how the process works. The process itself is skewed in favor of defendants because the system is designed to limit the instances (even though it may not always work) where innocent people are convicted. let's assume for a moment, that Mr. butler was set up by someone else for the crimes he was alleged to have committed, then the judge revoking his bail, even though he was innocent would have been harsh and unfair- an innocent man sitting in prison until his trial. That is a terrible in its own right. It is such a difficult thing to combine a desire to see justice done against criminals versus making sure we do not convict the innocent. Thus, the judge, assuming all men to be innocent until proven guilty should have given him an opportunity at bail despite the horrificness of the crimes he was alleged to have committed. IN this instance, the judge was right and Mr. Butler was wrong but how can you blame a lay person and the victim of a horrific crime (as he was) for hating the very system that lets someone who did what they did to his family serve less than 5 years in prison. You can't blame him. I would lose my mind if what happened to him happend to me. I would have wanted to kill everyone, in the most barbaric of ways. That's what makes this movie so excellent is because it deals with such important and difficult issues.
SPOLIERS AHEAD **********
The ingenius maneuvers by Mr. Butler were amazing to watch and the come uppance received by at least one of the criminals is the single greatest come uppance that I have seen on film. Unflinchly unforgiving, and I Loved it.
but I have some questions for the educated and well read viewers who watched this film. MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN FILM. I REPEAT. DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN FILM.
I believe the ending was entirely contrived for several reasons. It is unlikely that Mr. Butler's plan would have been discovered by Mr. Foxx in a timely fashion even with the information he obtained. It is clear that Mr. butler having planned so ingeniously would have made his secret location failry impenetrable by anyone but him either through the use of digital codes, retinal scanners what have you, in order to gain acess to his lair. Assuming for a moment that we accept that Mr. Foxx realistically came upon this information and discovered the plan by any means necessary, then the movie ends completely unrealistically because Mr. Foxx, the Judge, and the police officer broke various laws in finding out his plan, and violated Mr. butler's civil rights in the process. So even if the they were able to stop Butler from carrying out his plan, it is very likely that Mr. Foxx, and all involved would have been removed as ADA, Judge and cop and would have been disbarred, and probably prosecuted for crimes. How about the instances where Mr. Butler is asaulted by Mr. Foxx. Foxx would have been charged with Assault and lost his job (even though he may have been doing what's right, he still broke the laws and would need to be hald accountable). This would have been a true ending, because if every one must be held accountable, then Mr. Foxx, even though he saves the day (Where he deserved execution in my opinion), should be held accountable for breaking a mutitude of laws in stopping. Anyone can get any result they want if they are willing to ignore the constituion that protects liberties. That's why we have the protections in the first place. So if you violate those liberties, even to save lives, then guess what- you have to pay the piper as a result.
That is the price that one has to pay for doing things outside the law even when the result saves lives. How come only Gerard Butler's character has to be held accountable for breaking the law to obtain justice when no one else would do what they were supposed to do. Why is that he alone has to pay the price for takinjg the law into his own hands. Why is his life and the lives of his wife and child less in the eyes of Mr. Foxx and co, than the lives of Foxx's colleagues. Why is Mr. Foxx not held accountable, after breaking the laws to stop Butler? The appropriate ending, based on what actually happened would have been Mr. Foxx's daughter and wife at the daughter's recital, after Foxx saves the day, but he himself would have been either a jailed or disbarred attorney for his actions in getting there. There is a price to pay for these actions, despite the result. My question to you, is do you agree with my thoughts on this?
Finally, the more realistic ending would have been for Mr. butler to pull the whole thing off (executing everyone even remotely connected with the prosecution of these defendants) and then walk out of his prison through his secret way, which I won't reveal, and disappear into the sea of humanity. I just do not think that he would have been caught. This would have satisfied me alot more, and made this movie an all time great in my opinion. But then again, this may be more to do with my desire for vengeance on his behalf then any clear cut logical thinking. Your thoughts??
Had the ending been different it would have been 5 stars
Serrell Ross | 05/17/2010
(3 out of 5 stars)
"As some of the folks who gave this movie 1 star pointed out having the lawyer win in the end was not a good ending. This movie should have ended with Gerard Butler sitting in his solitary confinement cell smiling and all the other key players in the movie being dead. It is the only fitting end for this movie. The best scene in the movie is when he takes out the judge. Overall, a great movie up until the final 10 minutes or so. Basically, the little guy should have won and the system that wronged him should have been completely dismantled. That would have been a 5 star awesome movie I would have bought."