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Kim Voynar

By Kim Voynar Voynar@moviecitynews.com

Review: Law Abiding Citizen

Directed by F. Gary Gray

Way back in March, I reviewed the dreadful movie Knowing. At the time, I thought perhaps I’d seen the worst atrocity foisted upon mainsteam theater audiences in 2009. Well, folks, we have another contender this week: the dreadful Jamie Foxx-Gerard Butler vehicle Law Abiding Citizen. If you’re short on time, let me get right to the point: Save your money. If you want more details on why, or you just enjoy reading about absurdly bad movies, do read on.

Here’s what we have in the way of a plot, to the extent that the film actually has one: Gerard Butler plays Clyde, the law-abiding citizen/crazy guy who goes off the deep end after his wife and daughter are murdered in a home invasion. (And for the record, “Clyde” is never a “law abiding citizen”-type name. Mark, or Steve, or Bill perhaps, but never “Clyde.”)

Why Clyde’s family is targeted, and how he ends up left alive while he wife and young daughter are dead, we don’t really know, but just assume we’re working with your typical Steven Seagal-level “they killed my family and now everyone must pay! Muahahaha!” plot and go from there. If you start at the bottom, there’s no where to go but up, right? Hah. If you think that, you didn’t pay enough attention in math class, where we learned about how things can actually be less than zero — which is certainly the case with this film.

Jamie Foxx, an otherwise talented guy, has the vast misfortune to be cast in this film as Nick Rice, the dapper, career-minded prosecutor who strikes a devil’s bargain that lets the more obviously evil of the two bad guys cut a sweet deal with the state.

Poor Clyde goes all mental and spends the next decade (A decade! Now that’s tenacity!) plotting his revenge. Not just on the guys who actually killed his wife and daughter — that wouldn’t make for a very long movie, silly! — but on everyone associated with the case, including Nick, who was just doing his job, after all. But Clyde is out to change the system! By killing everyone! For the record, none of this is spoiler, because what plot points there are to the film were all cut together into the trailer.

So Clyde, even from behind bars, manages to carry out his nefarious plot to get his revenge on those who wronged his murdered family. The guy is locked up behind bars, but he still manages to blow shit up and kill people and no one can stop (or apparently even monitor) him. He’s like Criss Angel, pulling off ridiculously impossible stunts. Only Criss Angel is cool and kind of sexy, and Clyde is a sociopath in a film in which the lameness, unfortunately, is not an illusion.

Nick, meanwhile, had a daughter of his own shortly after the events that kick off the film, so now he has a wife and daughter — just like poor Clyde once had. Hmm … is that a potential plot point I smell? Unfortunately, Kurt Wimmer, the screenwriter, after setting this up, fails to do anything remotely interesting with it or any of the other plot points that litter the film (though to be fair to Wimmer, it’s entirely possible that his script kicked ass and the studio suits mucked it up).

Whoever’s to blame, Law Abiding Citizen is as littered with problems as it is dead bodies. There are many better ways to spend your time and money this weekend, folks. Go see An Education, or Where the Wild Things Are, or Paranormal Activity. Take a walk, bake some bread, scrub your toilet. However you choose to spend your time, it will be better spent than if you’d wasted 90 minutes of it sitting through this wretchedly bad film.

-by Kim Voynar

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Bing!

One of the great movies. Charles Bronson, great, Charles Bronson. Great movies. Today you can’t make that movie because it’s not politically correct, right? It’s not politically correct. But could you imagine with Trump? Somebody says, oh, all these big monsters aren’t around he’s easy pickings and then shoot.”
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