From Rotten Tomatoes: 24% Rotten (Average Rating: 4.3/10)
Consensus: Unnecessarily violent and unflinchingly absurd, Law Abiding Citizen is plagued by subpar acting and a story that defies reason.
“Shamelessly crass and blatantly stupid. There oughta be laws against films like this.”
That quote sums up my feelings exactly. Here are some more choice words on this (wretched) film:
“…the kind of ragged film that appeals to the lower common denominator rather than the intelligent portion of the viewer’s brain.”
“Simply rent Silence of the Lambs and Falling Down, then mash them together and maybe you’ll have what this movie was trying to achieve. Maybe.”
“Law Abiding Citizen is such a lazy action-drama underachiever, it seems unfair to target stars Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler for bringing their C game.”
“Law Abiding Citizen could be the movie of the year, but only if you’re a big fan of stupid.”
Allow me to begin by lamenting that I have never, in the history of my adult movie-going career, asked for my money back after a film (and I have seen Epic Movie.) This was Gerard Butler’s worst film since, well, his last film. It’s filled with over-the-top action, and disappoints like 300 and RockNRolla, so good job for Mr. Butler and the whole not getting type cast into a shitty role like Jason Statham thing (It’s too bad The Ugly Truth couldn’t set him free.) Film Critic Susan Granger described Law Abiding Citizen as “Criminally contrived”, and I cannot help but to agree with the lady.
This movie had promise (think: Lucky Number Slevin) as a (sometimes) funny and entertaining revenge thriller, but quickly devolved into a twisted narrative featuring “gorno” (see: Saw I-VI), horrid (and contrived) dialogue, and a ridiculously illogical plot line that seemed to crumble as the movie progressed. It almost seemed as though the director made things up as he went along. The major plot points seemed glued together with poor adhesive, and slowly melted throughout the film into the closing crescendo in which Jamie Foxx attempted to unload his lines with a straight face and deliver a confused (and again, contrived) message that seems contradictory and absurd when compared to the political(?) theme the film was trying to capture and the message that it (ultimately) failed to deliver.
Such a sad ending for a film with such great promise. To be frank, I felt that this movie was 90% great (although, in retrospect a lot of it was mindless and gratuitous), but the final 10 minutes of the film were so utterly ridiculous and unsatisfying that I literally found myself shaking my head in disgust in the theater. I haven’t felt this jobbed since No Country for Old Men abruptly ended without accomplishing anything, or perhaps when Children of Men did the same thing. Ended. Stupidly. Without cause or meaning. This film could have been confused with Rob Zombie’s directorial thriller debut, as it used his trademark “let the guys win who you’re NOT rooting for” technique to close the story.
I am bitterly disappointed and almost appallingly upset at how horrible this movie turned out, and how insulting it was to the intelligence of the audience. Bad movies don’t trust the audience’s ability to think, good movies give the audience room to think, and great movies leave it up to the audience to figure it all out. In other words, great movies trust that the audience is intelligent enough to put together the pieces and decipher the message, metaphor and allegory that the director et al. are attempting to convey. Well, Law Abiding Citizen was a stink bomb (can anyone say Razzie?) and failed miserably on almost every level a movie can fail.
Jamie Foxx, Gerard Butler and F. Gary Gray just lost my business until they can redeem themselves somehow. And no. I’m not talking about a lame biopic.
In closing, I want to send the men and women responsible for this film one message: Fuck off.