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Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler) is a broken man.
A home invasion has left his wife and daughter dead and now the legal system has left him feeling that justice has not been served.
He felt sure he would get his day in court and was confident of victory, especially given prosecutor Nick Rice's (Jamie Foxx) 96 per cent conviction rate.
But a deal has been cut, sending one to death row, while the other gets off with a light sentence.
"Some justice is better than no justice at all, " Rice offers, but those words cut no ice with Shelton.
After 10 years of planning, Shelton starts to dole out his own punishments, tampering with the lethal injection and sadistically killing the other criminal.
Despite being secretly impressed with what Shelton has achieved, Rice reluctantly locks him up, but the grieving husband and father has by no means finished his revenge mission and the prison bars prove to be a minor inconvenience.
No doubt likely to be on the top of the Sensible Sentencing Trust's must-view list, this "the law is an ass" vigilante thriller falls apart, because it is unsure whether it wants to be a serious drama or a vicious and visceral action-horror movie. Writer Kurt Wimmer (The Thomas Crown Affair remake, Ultraviolet) borrows ethos and ideas from everything from The Brave One and The Dark Knight to Dexter and Saw, while trying to outline what has gone wrong with the American justice system.
But ultimately, this is just a retread of the slew of mid-90s mad- bomber movies such as In the Line of Fire, Blown Away, Speed and Sudden Impact.
Butler (300) and Foxx (The Soloist), ended up swapping their original roles, and try hard to add some credibility to the story, but unfortunately they are not Anthony Hopkins or Jodie Foster.
Director F Gary Gray (The Italian Job remake) keeps the action bobbing along, and produces one genuine jump and one of the most gratuitous butt shots ever, but fails to deliver anything unique or truly compelling.
- © Fairfax NZ News