DVD Review by Kam Williams
Headline: Jamie Foxx Cat-and-Mouse Thriller Comes to DVD
Burglars Clarence James Darby (Christian Stolte) and Rupert Ames (Josh Stewart) both broke into the suburban Philadelphia home of Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler) and forced him to sit and watch helplessly as they brutally murdered his wife (Brooke Mills) and daughter (Ksenia Hulayev). However, only one of the perps had to pay for the crime, since the former was permitted to turn state’s evidence and testify against the latter under the terms of a plea deal which let him off with a slap on the wrist.
Consequently, Clarence was set free while his co-conspirator was sentenced to death and executed by lethal injection. This outcome made perfect sense to most of the people in the courtroom, such as the Judge (Annie Corley), the District Attorney (Bruce McGill), Prosecutor Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx) and his assistant, Sarah (Leslie Bibb), but it never sat well with
So, he set about methodically planning to exact a measure of retribution. For, what nobody suspected was that this mild-mannered family man secretly happened to be a retired CIA Agent/assassin/genius inventor/mad scientist all rolled into one, which means he’s the wrong guy to make into an enemy.
Thus, this “Law Abiding Citizen” has morphed into a bloodthirsty vigilante with a hit list containing the names of Clarence and everyone he considers responsible for a guilty man still being able to walk the streets. What ensues is a gruesome splatter flick ostensibly designed to up the ante in terms of the revenge genre’s generous helpings of gratuitous gore.
As suavely played by Gerard Butler, Clyde proves to be an increasingly-unsympathetic cross of Hannibal Lecter and Paul Kersey, the obsessed protagonist played by Charles Bronson in the Death Wish franchise. It is easy to understand why he might want to behead Clarence after first castrating the creep with a scalpel, but he begins to lose my support when he subsequently sets his sights on the legal community.
A high-octane, high body-count thriller posing the question, how do you stop a psycho vigilante on a killing spree? Apparently, by any means necessary.
Very Good (2.5 stars)
Rated R for graphic violence, rape, torture and pervasive profanity.
Running time: 109 minutes
DVD Extras: Audi commentary and a “Behind-the-Scenes” featurette.