Sunday, October 18, 2009

Law Abiding Citizens

So, yesterday I went to see "Law Abiding Citizens" starring Gerard Butler and Jamie Foxx. The previews seemed pretty intense and I've liked other movies both have been in ("300" is one of my favorites) so I had moderately high expectations for this movie.

I'll come right out with it early...I was a bit let down. But, first let's set the scene.

It was the second night for this movie, and it's a rainy and cold night here in Maryland. I've got a bit of a limp from getting accidentally kicked in my football game last night, and my shin area has the feeling of a constant cramp. I enjoyed some Pot Belly for dinner right before the movie, and decided to pick up some Welch's fruit snacks from the concession stand before my girlfriend, two friends and I made our way to the theater. We find our seats in the second row of stadium seating in the moderately filled theater, and within two minutes, conflict has broken out.

Apparently, the reclining of my friend's seat is hitting the larger woman behind him in the feet. She immediately cops attitude to which he explains that that's the way the seats go. Her husband steps in and says that he should not recline his seat. This is all completely ridiculous, but my friend sits back down and as he slightly reclines, her fat foot must have been grazed, so she kicks his seat. Yes, she kicks his seat. She's about 35 years old and has reverted to 8 year old tactics. My friend gets pushed forward, turns around to yell at her for this upsurd move, and finally I step in and suggest we all just shift down one seat to get away from this craziness.

We move, the guy sitting behind me leans up to my friend and informs him that "he was totally in the right" and we already have suspense before the movie starts. And now on to the movie.

It's your typical revenge movie, as you've probably already picked up from the synopsis on fandango or other sites. Gerard Butler has his wife and daughter murdered by home invaders and Jamie Foxx acts as the prosecutor for the case against the two assailants. He's a "hot shot" lawyer who doesn't want to tarnish his conviction rate, so he cops a deal with one of the bad guys to get the second one a death penalty sentence. This doesn't jive for Gerard, as he saw both men commit the crime and thinks it is ridiculous that the one will get off with a light sentence because he helped get the other guy.

The system is flawed.

Gerard isn't happy and wants to make a point, by dispensing his own justice. The movie draws you in with some ridiculous violence and some suspenseful moments (you will jump during one particular scene). Seriously, don't take children to see this. And you almost get the feeling that Gerard's character is pretty bad ass and is gonna make a great point when all is said and done.

However, he doesn't. The movie falls apart about 3/4 of the way through, and any semblance of a point is lost on excessive killing with apparently no reason behind it. They paint Butler as this uber-intelligent military assassin, and you think he's got an ultimate plan to show the wrongs in the system and how they should be changed, but that's not the case.

Jamie Foxx doesn't learn anything, except that his friends got killed. You, the viewer, don't really come away with a message that, hey, the court system is convaluted when murderers can get away with what they did by making deals to help the lawyers. Instead, it's just another brutal revenge movie that expands out beyond getting revenge on just the people who committed the crime.

I would say I'm most upset with this movie because it had promise, some good groundwork in the early part of the movie, and didn't follow through. It had the potential to be like a "Seven" and instead fell short.

Vigilante justice without a point.

My friend should have slapped that woman in the face when she kicked his seat.