T.J. has been hounding me for months to review one of his favorite movies Law Abiding Citizen. The film clearly resonates with him and his general distaste for the government particularly the “justice” system. After watching the film I now know why—it rips the system a new one if you get my meaning. Moreover, as I state in the title, I am not a Jamie Foxx fan, but this film was pretty darn good because the “bad guy” a.k.a. the Law Abiding Citizen beats the corrupt system until the last five minutes of the movie. I do wish the movie would have let him win the whole game but we all know Hollywood just could not let that happen.
In a violent home invasion, engineer Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler) is forced to witness the rape and murder of his wife and young daughter. Prosecutor Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx) is unable to use DNA evidence to securely convict both accused. Because he is more concerned about his high and yet unbeaten 96% conviction rate, Foxx makes a deal with Darby (the actual murderer), letting him plead guilty to a lesser charge, in return for testifying against Ames. Ames is falsely found guilty of masterminding the break-in and both murders and is sentenced to death. Shelton is outright pissed off because of the brutal nature of the crime to his family he wanted Foxx to take both killers to trial.
Fast forward ten years and the criminal’s time on death row is up, but our hero, the law abiding citizen, has managed to replace the typical drugs used in executions with another drug (Potassium bromide), causing Ames to die an extremely painful death. Not to worry though our law abiding citizen has not forgotten his partner in crime because he brutally tortures and extremely brutally dismembers him in revenge for killing his wife and daughter while videotaping the whole thing.
In a great court scene Shelton represents himself and successfully argues that he should be granted bail, citing weak evidence and lack of criminal record but when this is granted, he outrageously berates the judge for accepting the “bullshit” legal precedents he himself cited and for being too eager to let madmen and murderers back on the street. The judge jails Shelton for contempt of court.
Not knowing who they are dealing with, one of Foxx’s acquaintances arranges a meeting with a CIA contact learning that Shelton had in fact worked with the agency previously as a “brain”; a highly trained agent whose job was creating devices to assassinate people in imaginative ways. Further, they are warned that Shelton has no contacts but is capable of killing anyone he wishes, no matter who they are or where he is. The contact warns them that Shelton does nothing without a reason, and if he’s in solitary confinement at the prison, he’s there because he wants to be there, and not that they put him there. During a meeting with Rice and Cantrell, the judge that presided over Darby/Ames’ case, is killed when she answers her cell phone. Shelton demands Rice to drop all charges against him or more people will die – he has until 6:00 am to do so. When Rice again fails to meet the demands, a number of Rice’s assistants are killed by car bombs, one of them is Sarah Lowell (Leslie Bibb). Rice immediately moves his family to a safe house. As Rice and Cantrell leave the funeral of Lowell, Cantrell is killed by a weaponized bomb disposal robot operated by an unseen person.
Fast forward a little and it turns out that our law abiding citizen has tunneled into prison. So he comes and goes as he pleases. Foxx finds a bomb in the tunnel meant for the mayor and other big wigs and tricks our law abiding citizen into detonating it in his cell.
I will say that the law abiding citizen didn’t seem to care as he really had nothing left to live for. So maybe he won after all. If you are fed up with the government, the criminal justice system or any real form of state imposed authority watch Law Abiding Citizen at the very least it will let our some serious frustration.