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Law Abiding Citizen (18)

Robert Hanks
Friday 27 November 2009 16:23 GMT

Gerard Butler, having seen his wife and sick-makingly cute daughter knifed to death, is distressed to be told that the murderer has plea-bargained his way to a slap-on-the-wrist sentence.

So, having tortured and dismembered the murderer, he sets out to take revenge on the justice system – from inside prison. What the justice system – in particular, public prosecutor Jamie Foxx – haven't realised is that Butler has a background in CIA black ops, dreaming up high-tech ways of killing without leaving a trace.

The film's entertainment value resides almost entirely in the ingenuity of Butler's modus operandi; but this is cancelled out by the film's underlying stupidity: the premise is that the US doesn't punish its criminals harshly enough – a proposition that can be instantly refuted by a glance at global statistics on imprisonment and execution, both areas in which America excels. Nor is Butler's character as morally ambiguous as the script seems to assume: not many shades of grey in torture and mass murder.

The real injustice is that the director who botched the remake of The Italian Job is still getting paid to make films.

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