Law Abiding Citizen **

February 11, 2010 by James Berardinelli - Reelviews
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The premise of Law Abiding Citizen – angry father seeks revenge on the system when his daughter’s murderer gets off with a light sentence – probably sounded great in the pitch meetings but, as with all high concept motion pictures, the devil’s in the details. For a while, F. Gary Gray’s thriller works on a purely visceral level, offering a degree of guilty satisfaction to viewers as one sleazy individual after another gets eliminated in a gruesome, Saw-esque manner. Unfortunately, Law Abiding Citizen isn’t content to be a Death Wish for 2009. It wants to be bigger and bolder. So it takes a simple revenge fantasy and uses it as the core of an elaborate high-stakes game that, in shooting for “inventive,” ends up hitting “preposterous.” The more Kurt Wimmer’s screenplay reveals about the lead character’s scheme, the more difficult it is to believe that Law Abiding Citizen is intended to be taken seriously.

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