Not to turn this week into a Frank Darabont slob-a-thon, but, fuck it, the guy deserves it. At one point not too long ago, Darabont’s next directing gig was to be Law Abiding Citizen, which he also served as a script-reviser on. Which, obviously, caught my attention and put the project high on my radar. It’s about a well-to-do, middle class familyman whose family is murdered by home-invaders, and, after the invaders get off clean in court, he sets out to bring hell down on both the deviants and the son-of-a-bitch lawyer who got them a nice plea bargain. A good old-school revenge show, full of redemption and naturalistic violence. Nothing all that special on paper, though, so if not for Darabont’s involvement Law Abiding Citizen would’ve came and gone quickly in my neck-topper.
But then, for reasons undisclosed, Darabont backed out, even though the film’s stars were attached—Gerard Butler as the father, and Jamie Foxx as the lawyer. Then, F. Gary Gray (director of Friday, The Italian Job, as well as a few other duds) stepped in. And I was still as disinterested as I was the day that Darabont jumped ship. Honestly, I’d pretty much forgotten about the project until yesterday, when the first trailer debuted. Neither of the stars are all that compelling right now—-Foxx has lost tons of luster since his Academy Award triumph, not to mention that I’m deathly-sick of “Blame It” at this point. Butler has become similarly stale; he wrecked shop in 300, but since then he’s devolved into a bit of an on-screen sissy in romantic comedies that you couldn’t pay me to see. I did enjoy Rock N Rolla enough, though, but that wasn’t enough for the chap.
I reluctantly gave the Law Abiding Citizen trailer a go-round last night, expecting some generic thrills and excessive mean-mugging from Butler. To my surprise, however, what I got was something rather exciting. Much meaner and dirtier than anticipated. Both of the film’s stars seem well-suited for their particular roles, and the mayhem that Butler’s character triggers looks delightfully hardcore. There’s even some stylish visuals from Gray, especially that end shot with Butler’s back-view silhouette standing before the devil’s-wings-like fire.
Could Law Abiding Citizen be a nice little surprise come October 16? Optimism is settling in. Looks like October could be one of the chunkiest months of new mainstream cinema in quite some time. Amen for that. Trailer after the jump: