LAW ABIDING CITIZEN (18)
JUSTICE is blind – and by the end of Gary Gray’s gruesome thriller, it’s also horribly burned, dismembered and disembowelled as a family man turns the tables on the lawmakers who let him down, with the help of his good friend Semtex.
The moral conundrum that underpins Kurt Wimmer’s screenplay is constantly obscured by graphic violence and relentlessly sadistic revenge fantasies played out by the central character on the denizens of Philadelphia.
His corruption at the hands of an unfair justice system and subsequent quest for retribution are supposed to blur the lines between good and evil, but the protagonists aren’t sketched in sufficient detail to carry the story’s flimsy convictions.
Gerard Butler has evidently been freeze-framing The Silence Of The Lambs as inspiration for his performance as the family man turned vigilante.
He chews lifelessly on every cliched line, while Jamie Foxx, as the crusading man of the law who must stop him, is just plain lifeless.
In a deeply unpleasant prologue, brilliant inventor Clyde Shelton (Butler) is at home, playing the doting father to his young daughter (Ksenia Hulayev), when two thugs break in, stab and restrain him and his wife (Brooke Mills) and go after the girl.
STAR RATING: **