Short Version: Law Abiding Citizen is a satisfying (and at times funny) revenge movie that unfortunately loses its way in the last 20 minutes.
Screen Rant reviews Law Abiding Citizen
It seems like Law Abiding Citizen is one in a series of husband/father avenges the death/mistreatment of his family movies spawned by the success of Taken (next in line is the Mel Gibson-starring Edge of Darkness).
In this one we have Gerard Butler as Clyde Shelton, loving father and husband (established quite effectively in just the first couple of minutes of the film) up against Jamie Foxx as prosecutor Nick Rice in a game of psychological cat and mouse.
Clyde’s wife and very young daughter are brutally murdered (his wife, before his eyes) by a couple of burglars who break into his home. In order to guarantee that at least one of the perpetrators gets the death sentence, Nick cuts a plea bargain with the other, who will only serve five years. He does this without first consulting with Clyde, who doesn’t buy Nick’s argument of it being better to see some justice served rather than take the chance that both men go free. Within the first 10 minutes you’ll get the entire set up for the film.
Cut to 10 years later – Nick now has a 9 year old daughter and the death row inmate is about to be executed. What should be a standard death by injection goes horribly wrong in a scene that will probably have you cringing in your seat at least a little. Soon after the bad guy who only served five years gets put in a compromising position by Clyde – and he is going to have a very, very bad (last) day.
One thing leads to another and Nick determines that Clyde is the guy behind both deaths. In a scene that frankly makes no sense other than to show Gerard Butler’s naked butt, the cops capture him and take him in. It soon becomes clear that Clyde wanted more than revenge – he wants to expose the corrupt justice system where compromises are made and the letter of the law sometimes leads to injustice.
Murders of those involved in the plea deal continue to take place even with Clyde behind bars, where he makes a series of odd and interesting requests – all of which turn out to be made for very specific reasons. Of course the big mystery is how these things continue to happen despite the fact Clyde is behind bars – who is his accomplice? Unfortunately the longer this goes on, the bigger the shovel that is needed to dig out the answer to this question, and the solution is hard to swallow.
Gerard Butler basically chews the scenery and Jamie Foxx isn’t given a whole lot to do here other than look and act solemn.
The movie is very violent, at times quite funny (Gerard gets some great lines that had the audience laughing out loud) and has at least one scene that comes at you out of nowhere with a hell of a punch. I’m a big fan of this sort of film being a husband and father myself, and was really enjoying it up until about the final 20 minutes where it took a turn in a direction that ends up putting a big damper on the experience. The ending seals the deal and really left me pretty cold (unfortunately).
So while the ending is pretty unsatisfying, I had a lot of fun for most of the movie. So overall if you’re into this sort of film and you’re a fan of Gerard Butler and/or Jamie Foxx I recommend Law Abiding Citizen.