Law Abiding Citizen F. Gary Gray

Law Abiding Citizen F. Gary Gray
With Law Abiding Citizen, qualified tough guy Gerard Butler enters the pantheon of cinema's most badass family-men-cum-vigilantes, rubbing broad shoulders with Charles "Death Wish" Bronson, Mel "Give me back my son!" Gibson, and Harrison "My wife, goddamn it!" Ford. Butler is Clyde Shelton, a covert government agent who masterminds a preposterously intricate plan for vengeance when the man who murdered his wife and daughter gets a light sentence for agreeing to testify against his partner in crime. While Law Abiding Citizen, as the title suggests, may try to couch Butler's rabidly entertaining revenge plots in some patchy themes of corrupted justice and loophole legality, it plays out more-or-less like any other urban revenge film, from Point Blank through to Edge of Darkness. The distinguishing factor being that instead of blasting bad guys dead-on, à la Death Wish, Butler's Shelton uses deadly tinker toys, tunnels and a functional knowledge of the legal system to stay 45 steps ahead of his pursuers (including Jamie Foxx, as a careerist prosecutor and the main target of Butler's scorned fury) until he finally has the entire city of Philadelphia gripped firmly by the balls. It could have used a bit more fist-to-face action (although one of the best takedowns sees Butler stabbing a prison inmate with a T-bone procured from a succulent steak) and a bit less Saw-styled sadism, but Law Abiding Citizen is a wonderfully tasteless thriller. A lot of the special features on this disc harp on the film's superficial exploration of a broken justice system. One featurette, appropriately titled "The Justice of Law Abiding Citizen," has former District Attorneys breaking down the film's many legal dilemmas, making Foxx's character seem a lot more likable in the process. One of the more interesting special features showcases a series of fan-made trailers for the film, which is a nice break from the usual behind-the-scenes footage and special effects breakdowns (also included). (Alliance)