The words "dumb" and "thriller" are seldom used in the same sentence, and "Law Abiding Citizen" illustrates all the reasons why.

Not only is it a hapless crime drama about outrage and revenge, it provides the sad spectacle of a movie far less intelligent than the one its filmmakers thought they were making. Starring Jamie Foxx as a scruple-free prosecutor and Gerard Butler as the victim he cheats out of justice, "Law Abiding Citizen" (yes, it needs a hyphen, and a new script) has so many plot holes, preposterous procedures and impotent gestures that it would take till the sports section to list them.

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Suffice to say, if a film's going to appeal to your worst instincts, you shouldn't be feeling bad about it before the credits roll.

Clyde Shelton (Butler) saw his family killed, but hotshot Philly prosecutor Nick Rice (Foxx) makes a deal with one of the murderers, just so he can maintain his 96 percent conviction rate. Ten years later, when the other killer is about to be executed, Shelton re-enters the picture, with appallingly violent results.

Strangely, there's never any development in how the characters are perceived - we're with Clyde all the way, despite his homicidal mania, which is perpetrated even while he's in prison - a minor detail that's never really explained. Perhaps because Foxx is giving such a self-satisfied performance,


Butler steals the movie, and doesn't even strain himself doing it. But laziness is probably "LAC's" greatest virtue.