“Law Abiding Citizen” a smash hit

Gerard Butler in "Law Abiding Citizen"
Gerard Butler in "Law Abiding Citizen"

A musical genius with disfigurement-induced demons. Check. Army leader who essentially wears a banana hammock, a cape, and a helmet, and still manages to be a badass. Check. A television host who encourages guys towards playboyish pursuits, but is really a teddy bear that just needs a hug. Check.

After accomplishing all of these, Gerard Butler, with his recent portrayal of Clyde Shelton, an unstable engineer who goes about killing as if it’s a big lesson to those who wronged him, has put together quite an impressive resume that establishes him as one of today’s big name movie actors.

Set in Philadelphia, the movie “Law Abiding Citizen” tells the story of Clyde Shelton, who sees another man walk free after only three years in jail for killing Shelton’s wife and daughter as a result of a deal made with prosecutor Nick Rice. After the deal is made, Shelton spends 10 years plotting his revenge before unleashing hell on those involved in the trial, while Rice is once again on the case, this time trying to stop Shelton.

Throughout the movie, you get your share of special effects and witty one-liners that seem to be a prerequisite for any film making its way through the stages of Hollywood these days. It leaves you on the edge of your seat as you’re left wondering who is next, even though it is a bit predictable when someone’s about to go.

Make no mistake about it, however, this is a great piece of filmmaking, with an original plot, talented actors, and a fairly well put together storyline. Well worth the 50 dollars and your firstborn child, or whatever it is they’re charging for movies these days. I would just recommend that when you buy your 10-gallon soda, you take your time with it, because there was no scene in this movie worth missing for a bathroom break. My bladder can attest to that.

In no way am I suggesting that Butler is the only thing that makes this movie worth the bladder damage. Butler’s co-star, Jamie Foxx, did well to establish himself as capable of performing in something outside of comedy, as his time on screen as Rice didn’t leave the audience yearning for Butler to come back.

Behind the camera, F. Gary Gray shows that he has come a long way since acting as ‘Black Man at Store’ in the movie “Friday,” and deserved the first directing job for him in over three years. As long as he doesn’t revert to putting out crap like “Be Cool,” I might just keep watching movies featuring him at the helm.

I do feel obligated to share that I felt a few underlying themes were similar to those in “The Dark Knight.” From about five minutes into the movie, I felt that if you threw Butler in a purple and green suit, slapped some makeup on him, and gave Jamie Foxx a Batman suit and told him to disguise his voice until it was essentially gibberish, we actually might have been watching the original script for “The Dark Knight 2.”

I do recommend this movie if you’re looking for something where people die in creative ways, or if you just want to see a mental chess match played out with lives on the line. Or if you feel your bladder needs to be punished.