Law Abiding Citizen Blu-ray Review
PictureLaw Abiding Citizen comes to Blu-ray with a solid if unspectacular 1080p High Definition presentation in the movie's original theatrical aspect ratio of widescreen 2.4:1. Detail is excellent throughout, clarity remains consistently good throughout, and there are scant few instances where edge enhancement, softness or unintentional grain becomes apparent. The colour scheme is suitably dour to reflect the material, but the sparks of bright colour - most notably the explosions and ensuing fireballs - light up your screen in a breathtaking way that you only tend to see in blockbuster escapades. Blacks are solid and allow for decent shadowing and night sequences, and overall this is a solid Blu-ray entry. The reason why it is unexceptional appears to stem from the unadventurous filmwork, which does not provide anything truly stimulating to the eyes. Sure, the rendition offers no 3D pop, but otherwise it tries its best with the material on offer, often coming up short purely because said material doesn't even have the glossy look of an episode of CSI. The score, however, reflects the fact that the Blu-ray still gives you what the Director intended.
SoundThe Lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track that accompanies the film is pretty punchy and certainly hits all the right buttons. Dialogue comes across clearly and coherently, the tense confrontations between the two main protagonists, and the shouts and screams of the victims all getting keen presentation off the fronts and centre channels. The effects are best when they are big and noisy, subtlety not being a particularly strong point of this track - with many of the quieter, atmospheric moments getting engulfed by the thematic scoring. That said, there are plenty of explosive, bullet-riddled sequences where you find your living room becomes a shooting gallery, the surrounds coming to life and the LFE bringing the explosive bass home. The aforementioned score isn't particularly memorable, but nevertheless works well for the material, often sweeping you up in the delusional spectacle. A punchy, engaging effort.
ExtrasIt's marginally disappointing that this release is missing the Theatrical Cut which can be found on the US equivalent, but whilst this can be forgiven since the Director's Cut is presumed to be better, this also means that we lose the Audio Commentary that accompanied said Theatrical Cut on the US 2-disc release. All of the other main extras are present and accounted for but, still, this is a pretty big omission.
Law in Black and White is a 15 minute Behind the Scenes Featurette which is a fairly by-the-numbers affair: all of the main cast and crew contributing soundbites on the movie, the story, their characters and the general theme of justice. The only unusual thing about the Featurette is that it has eben done in black and white, but that is nothing more than a gimmick, and the novelty wears off pretty quickly.
The Justice of Law Abiding Citizen takes 6 minutes to look at the more legal aspects of the production, with an L.A. District Attorney on board to help dissect these more realistic moments during the first act of the movie, discussing difficulties with eye-witness testimony, contamination of evidence, the attractive side of plea bargains and the pressure on prosecutors to secure a conviction. Arguably the most interesting extra on the disc (in the absence of the Commentary), it still falls short because of its overly brief duration.
Preliminary Arguments offers us 7 minutes of Visual Effects Progressions split across 5 different sequences: Execution, Snow Enhancement, Gun Injection, Prison Explosion and Car Crash. We get to see how these effects moments were created, from concept through to final effects, with all of the stages briefly examined along the way. Short, but informative effects snippets.
We also get a 'Trailer Mash-Up' and the standard Trailer, both of which give away far too much of the plot, especially for such a twist-ridden affair. Trust me, this is another one of those movies that is much better off being seen without having watched these spoiler-packed previews.
VerdictLaw Abiding Citizen has an interesting premise that poignantly looks at the flaws in the US justice system. That it eventually devolves into a totally ludicrous action thriller does not take away from the fact that it is thoroughly entertaining throughout. Gerard Butler gets one of the most interesting roles of his fairly by-the-numbers career, and his dialogue with Jamie Foxx is another high point in the movie, Foxx's fast and razor sharp comments playing well against Gerard Butler's calm and well-measured chess-move musings. A familiar supporting cast, some gratuitous (in a stylistically effective and viscerally entertaining way) violence and a twist-ridden plot round out what could have been just another standard revenge flick. As it is, whilst far from perfect (the terrible ending nearly lost it a mark on the movie score, and ignoring this it still barely scrapes a 7) this one is nevertheless likely to enthral audience members even if it will never strike up the kind of debate on justice that one might hope for.
On UK Blu-ray the presentation is pretty good, perhaps marginally limited by the material but nonetheless representative of it, but the extras are a diet version of what was released Stateside, the lack of a second disc robbing us of both the Alternate Theatrical Cut and also the Audio Commentary that accompanied it. Still, we do get a few Featurettes to fill up this disc and fans of the show should consider this a decent enough version (particularly if you're locked to Region B). Newcomers get a recommended rental from me, you may be disappointed with the way it plays out in the end, but you're likely to enjoy the ride nonetheless. Silly but fun.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £24.99
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