Sunday, 29 November 2009

REVIEW: Law Abiding Citizen

Gerard Butler is the best thing about this movie. A phrase that I was sure my fingers would never type but there you go. He not only isn't terrible, but even has a couple of moments of being OK. And in comparison to every other aspect of this movie, he even rises above the material. Of course that would require a very low standard of material, and Law Abiding Citizen is happy to oblige. You get the sense that perhaps there's a watchable thriller in here somewhere, but that glimmer of optimism is crushed by this movie's relentless quest to be an overblown game of revenge cat and mouse, which gets more generic and derivative with the film's progression and by the end you feel positively weighed down by the monotonousness of it all.

The movie's point, such as it is, is that the legal system has become more about self-sustaining then punishing bad guys. And this wrong. There should be less bureaucracy and more execution damn it. And while I can hardly say that I agree with this, at least its an ethos (big up Walter Sobchak) and up until the half way point I was prepared to cut it some slack, but then things got ridiculous, and the less said about the weak, weak ending the better. The movie's determination to turn Butler in to some kind of super-villain just removes any kind of credibility it had, and rather then the scathing criticism of the legal system/death wish wannabe it began as, it became like a shit version of the Dark Knight, with Butler's city official assassinating driving the city, and the wooden and disinterested Jamie Foxx, into a very dull and unwatchable panic. Foxx, who is a great actor on his day, doesn't exactly have the best batting average in the world and to be sure this is the Jamie Foxx from The Kingdom rather then the one from the Soloist. As far as the supporting cast goes, no-one stood out to me to mention for good or bad, all blending into this movie's painfully dull big picture. F Gary Gray, is on the whole a reasonably solid hired hand, having made a couple of watchable movies, but this falls into the backend of his output.

Only the scenes with Butler are worth anything really, and they belong to a 6/10 movie at best, while the rest of this shit, slot-filling time waster hits about a 4, so we'll do the mature thing and call a compromise.

Rating: 5/10

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