Remember Charles Bronson in Death Wish? Law Abiding Citizen offers a taste of no-mercy vigilante family-man justice 3.0. Ten years after his wife and daughter were slaughtered in front of him, Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler) kidnaps one of the perpetrators, straps him down to a torture table, and saws off his limbs (and other things). Then he sends a video of the atrocity to Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx), the slick, out-for-himself Philadelphia prosecutor who cut too soft a deal with the killer.
Clyde is one of those movie madmen who turns vengeance into a ''game.'' He's Bronson crossed with the didactic sadist of the Saw films. Under arrest, he somehow devises a way to further his rampage from within the walls of a maximum-security prison and that's a pretty big somehow, especially when you learn how he's doing it. Clyde is meant to be nuts, but too often it's Law Abiding Citizen that checks rationality at the door. Butler and Foxx engage in sub–Silence of the Lambs word duels, but during these scenes what I mostly noticed is how quickly I've grown tired of Butler's mush-mouthed bravura, and also how much I hope that Foxx, who looks bored, holds his slumming down to this one film. C–