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I'm gonna bring the whole fuckin' diseased, corrupt temple down on your head. It's gonna be biblical. - Clyde
The trailers for LAW ABIDING CITIZEN had me foaming at the mouth like a German Sheppard with rabies locked up in a kennel filled with yelping bitches in heat. Seriously, the film looked like it was tailor made for my personal cinematic affinities. By rule of middle finger, I love revenge movies and the fact that I'm a huge fan of Gerard Butler and that he played the villain here was also a big plus. So what the f*ck happened? Alas, life and its left field uppercuts to my granite chin went down and I never got around to catching this badass, until now. And ya know what? I am very happy that I did.
The initial premise of LAW ABIDING CITIZEN was one we've seen a million times over. Scum kills family of dude, the system lets the dude down, dude takes the law into his own hands. But once that established it slyly built off that and played its game in a more flamboyant and broader fashion than the vengeance norm. SAW and SILENCE OF THE LAMBS came to mind in terms of where ABIDING CITIZEN ventured. The former in the sense that our psycho was messing with the so called hero all in the name of teaching him a lesson in morality. And the latter was paralleled via a having an incarcerated genius loon toying with the Po-Po (I had to use that term, sue me) while on the inside. And what fun it was to witness! Straight up the highlight of this film for me, the main reason I boogied to it so damn much was Gerard motherf*cking Butler. I couldn't get enough of the dude as he mind-raped the authorities and whacked scumbags in gruesome/creative ways, while spitting all kinds of groovy ass lines. I actually saw this one with my brother and every time Gerard would pull off one of his deadly tricks we'd spit out: You just got Butlered! Yeah we were having a hoot with it all. It was just that kind of movie.
Moreover, Butler gave quite the outstanding performance. He was totally on top of his game with this role; making him grief stricken, angry, insane yet mucho likeable all at the same time. His exchanges with Foxx, the judge, his cell mate... his exchanges with everybody, had me grinning from ear to ear. To say I was rooting for the so called villain of this film the whole way is an understatement. As I walked home, ready, able yet dreading to tackle another round of ring-around-the-Inbox, I was still behind the lad 100%. Sure, Jamie Foxx was credible in his role as well (As he always is, fine actor, you ever see his Terrance Howard impression? Gold!), but I didn't really liked whom he played, hence the better Foxx was, the more I rooted for Butler... but that's another story that I'll tackle below. Add to all that goodness, an able supporting cast (Leslie Bibb and Regina Hall came through), some brilliant camera work, striking imagery (that wall of fire was nuts), a social commentary that didn't overwhelm but didn't go unnoticed, a handful of nasty kill bits and couple of eye popping kaboom inclined action sequences and you get an entertaining and gripping revenge tale on a hefty dose of steroids.
Unfortunately, the more I discovered "how" Clyde was pulling his shit off the more improbable it al became.With that stabbed, I didn't have to work too hard to jack up my suspension of disbelief. I was having such a good time that I WANTED to believe this flick - hence I did. And was I alone in being annoyed by Viola Davis as the Mayor? She didn't sell me on her role and her constant yelling irritated me. My biggest peeve though had to do with the flick failing at pulling off its balancing act when it came to the two leads. Nick as played by Jamie Foxx was supposed to be the good guy with some bad in him cause he represents the system. And Butler's Clyde was the bad guy with some good in him cause he was once a loving family man. And as the clock ticked forward Butler became crazier and Foxx became nicer, all in the name of swaying whom the audience was supposed to indentify with during the last block. But the ploy didn't work on me, I was Team Butler the whole way. By result, the ending of the picture was not only the most plot laced section of it all it was also the most disappointing moment of the film for me. Talk about ending on a downer and I don't mean that in a good way. I came up with at least 2 better endings, but then again, who gives a shit!
On the whole though LAW ABIDING CITIZEN was maybe not as smart as it thought it was but man was it a f*cking blast!. Gerard Butler WAS this movie, his performance alone was worth the price of admission. See it on the big screen, see it on DVD, see it on your IPod... SEE IT!