Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Movie Review: Law-Abiding Citizen


Plotline: Dude get pissed at the way the prosecutor carried out his case, and gets revenge on everybody by blowing them up to bits.

Review: Meh.

To be honest, I don't really know what I was expecting when I decided to go watch this movie. I guess I thought it would be an interesting action movie, and it was mildly related to the justice system, so heck, why not check it out. The trailer made it seem interesting, but then again they always do, and I should've known that. In the end, I have to say, it was rather disappointing.

The trailer set the bar rather high. It was supposed to be a movie about a guy fighting a corrupt system. It was supposed to be a movie about a guy whose intellect was such that he could make people die when he was in prison. It was supposed to be a movie with the typical American patriotism and moral superiority, where good guys prevail and bad guys die.

Well, no.

It turned out to be a movie about a guy who threw a tantrum because he didn't get what he wanted, so everyone else is now the "bad guy" and everybody is personally responsible for what happened to him. The whole plotline was a joke, and only served as a support for a countdown of the 10 most badass ways to kill people.

The Irony started even before the movie. The trailer shown right before the beginning of the film was one of "7 days", in which a father hunts down an tortures the guy who killed his daughter. (Sounds familiar?) The message was clear: this plot is already overused. Then, the high point of that trailer was the dead kid's mom calling the dad, saying "Nobody agrees with what you're doing." And here we are, about to watch a movie celebrating just that.

The nonsenses in this movie are too numerous to be tackled individually. (Why did they have to convict the skinny guy so badly, instead of the fat guy? Why didn't the doctors notice something was wrong when the guy on the execution table was still moving? Did they not notice the steak had a bone?) So I'll just tackle some general issues.

First off, the excuse given for the ire of the dude is quite pathetic. He's angry because the damn prosecutor cut a deal. And this somehow proves that the whole system is corrupt. OK, fine, they tried to show that the prosecutor was very worried by his personal stats, and maybe cared more about his conviction rate than about this elusive concept that we call Justice (with the capital "J" and the band on the eyes). But honestly, prosecutors make deals all the time, and it's not a symptom of corruption per se. Besides, if the prosecutor is only concerned with his own selfish interests, it's not a sign that the whole system is corrupt.

The whole idea was that it is horrible for prosecutors to make deals with criminals, and it would've been better to go to trial and lose, since, at least, the prosecutor would've tried. Well, given the way the story is told, going to trial would probably give the same movie. I'm sure there's lot of films about self-righteous victims who decide to kill jurors because they thought the jurors were corrupt. Either way, the system is supposed to be diseased.

They didn't even make an attempt at including a bit of the corruption that supposedly infects the system. The prosecution was just doing its job, and nothing hits at a job badly done, save the deal. At least they could've tried to show that, I dunno, the prosecution made a mistake and was trying to cover its ass or something. But no. Nothing.

And the judge. Why was the dude so mad at the judge? There was a whole scene at the courthouse that was supposed to show that the judge was incompetent or something, because she was about to release a man charged with murder. Butler's character gave some nice speech that was supposed to sound like bullshit, and cited a precedent that may or may not be real, then accused the judged of being the avatar of the diseased system for being inclined to buy it. Well bad news for you: it's called the Bill of Rights. It's this thing that, ya know, the whole idea of American freedom of democracy is built on.

TBC maybe.