Directed by: F. Gary Grey
Starring: Jamie Foxx, Gerard butler, Michael Gambon, Viola Davis, Leslie Bibb
Overture Pictures is one of those companies that we’ve covered a great deal and honestly most of their films are just mediocre. That’s not necessarily a bad thing because the fact is that we don’t see many just flat out bad films from the company. There films are generally at least worth a rent. It just seems like they need that one great film to push the company forward in the world of entertainment. Is Law Abiding Citizen that film? Probably not. Should it be? Probably so.
Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler) is living the good life with his wife and daughter. One night while simply hanging out in their home invaders break in and kill both Clyde’s wife and daughter. It’s a fairly brutal scene where he, mortally wounded himself, ends up seeing the whole thing. Clyde pins all of his hopes of getting the villains put away on slick Philadelphia prosecutor Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx). Unfortunately Rice is more concerned about his success rate than actually seeing justice served. One of the home invaders gets a death sentence while the other one gets a scant ten years. Shelton is distraught over the death of his wife but there’s something dark and calculating about him. Nick feels it but he brushes it away like he does the case once he feels that justice has been served.
Once the home invader is released from prison his mutilated body is found and the evidence leads to Shelton. Nick tries to defend Clyde but it turns out that Clyde wants to go to jail so he shakes things up in the courtroom. Clyde is out to make a statement about the broken justice system and he’s also going to fix it at whatever cost.
Once Clyde is in prison members of Nick’s legal team begin to die. Nick knows that Clyde is responsible but he can’t connect him to the crimes because he’s sitting in a prison cell. Butler and Foxx feel well suited in their parts: Butler as the intense manipulator and Foxx as the slick hero. Calling Nick the hero isn’t truly fair because you have to ask, did he do all he could for Clyde? Clyde could also be considered a hero as he wants to make things better for everyone. The problem is seeing some people die doesn’t seem to bother him.
Law Abiding Citizen features good actors and some nice twists and turns. The problem is that the scenes that are supposed to be the best, the interrogation scenes, are the shortest and the least strongly executed. The problem isn’t with the actors because they work great together and the scenes are directed just fine. The scenes needed another pass by the writers. They get the points across but they lack a certain emotional depth that made the scenes in films like Silence of the Lambs so powerful and memorable. The film is thoroughly entertaining but it feels like another rewrite on the script might have made the film great. As it stands Law abiding Citizen offers up some thrills and is definitely worth a watch and if you’re a fan of legal thrillers it’s worth a buy.
This blu-ray offers up a full 1080p AVC encode at an aspect ratio of 2.40:1 and overall it looks really good. Black levels are clean leaving detail intact during darker scenes. Colors are realistic and grain is kept to a minimum. This is easily one of Anchor Bay’s best looking blu-ray releases.
This Dolby TrueHD 5.1 presentation is about as good as you’d expect from such a dialogue driven film. Action sequences do bring the sub woofer to life and there’s some surround usage although most of the proceedings stick to the front channels. Dialogue, score, and sound fx are well mixed and clean throughout the film with only a few exceptions where Jamie Foxx is just slightly hard to hear.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The two disc presentation is packaged in a standard slim blu-ray amaray case with basic floating head artwork.
Oddly disc one features a director’s cut of the film while disc two features the theatrical cut. It seems like both versions of the film could have fit on one disc even if that forced the bonus features onto the second disc. The theatrical cut features a commentary with the producers of the film. The commentary feels fresh because it was recorded during the film’s theatrical run. So, these guys have just finished making the film so some of their stories about the production are literally right off the set. The commentary does lack some weight by not having the director or any of the staff.
The Justice of Law Abiding Citizen is a brief but still very dry look at the real law behind the film and it features interviews with lawyers and some real life stories used as comparison to that of the film. This is really bland stuff.
Law in Black and White is the making of featurette irritatingly presented in black and white. This is a gimmick, nothing more. There are sound bites from the cast and a good bit of behind the scenes footage of a few scenes being shot.
Preliminary Arguments is a group visual effects shots and some previs stuff too. This feels a little out of place because this isn’t a heavy effects film. A longer more substantive making of featurette would have been more appreciated.
There’s a mash up video and a trailer rounding out the bonus features. There are a few nuggets of good information here and the behind the scenes stuff is interesting but overall the bonus features feel really thin.
Law Abiding Citizen is a better movie than you think it is but not as good as it could have been.
Overall (Not an Average) 7/10
The Movie 7/10
The Video 8/10
The Audio 7.5,10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 5/10
Overall (Not an Average) 7/10