The majority of people would go to the ends of the earth for their families and do absolutely anything for them. Our families are the people we see and interact with everyday. We love them, but what happens when they’re taken away in one fell swoop? Just like that in the blink of an eye, the ones we love the most are gone forever. In normal cases, a period of mourning will take place, followed by a period of trying to move on. Tell that to Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler).
Then there’s the extreme case in “Law Abiding Citizen” where Shelton, a father and husband, loses his wife and daughter. In the very first scene, the Shelton residence is invaded by a couple of low-life goons who kept pressing the doorbell (more of an annoyance than anything). Shelton neglecting the door peephole and answering the door is beyond me, since he’s a genius (more on this later). Shelton is tied up and completely helpless, while his wife and little girl are murdered.
Jamie Foxx plays Nick Rice, a hotshot prosecutor, doing his best to keep bad guys off the streets, even if that means striking plea bargains to get what he wants. Rice reaches a deal with one of the cooperative murderers, who testifies against his assistant, to receive a shorter sentence. This infuriates Shelton to no end because it seems like Rice isn’t even willing to try the case because of his precious 96% conviction rate. Rice coyly replies, “Some justice is better than no justice”.
What follows 10 years later is the calculated vengeance Shelton has conjured up to the precise detail. No one is safe and “If Clyde wants you dead, you’re dead”. Shelton wants revenge on everyone and Rice has to stop him before it’s too late.
Throughout the movie, we’re questioning ourselves along with Rice because, well, we’re perplexed. How the hell is Shelton doing all of this? Shelton’s in prison, is it magic? No, it can’t be magic. Is he even the one doing this? Does he have an accomplice(s)? We learn quickly that Shelton is a genius who can do anything, outthink anyone and everyone in the city of brotherly love, kill anyone in a assortment of ways, and he’s going “to bring the whole [judicial] system down on [Rice’s] head”.
The many interactions between Shelton and Rice are adequate with some one-liners thrown in as comic relieving points, especially with Rice dropping the f-bomb over and over.
The suspenseful buildup towards the ending is monumental and almost “biblical” with explosions galore, variety of kills, and viewers constantly asking, “How?!”, but the ending just leaves you asking yourself, “Did that really work?” and “What the hell?”
“Law” is a decent suspense/action movie with star power enlisted, but the ending kind of makes the movie fall flat on its face. What’s the word I’m looking for? Oh yes, underwhelming.