It's not hard to find someone with a cynical view of lawyers, especially trial lawyers, many of whom are more interested in their own careers and in winning cases than they are in seeing that justice is served. It's an old story that's been told again and again in the cinema.
Law Abiding Citizen is the latest in the bad lawyer genre, with Jamie Foxx as career focused attorney Nick Rice who accepts a plea bargain from the killer of affable inventor Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler)'s family.
The film opens with Shelton and his daughter working together in the basement, while his wife prepares dinner. There's a knock on the door and when Shelton opens it, he's wacked with a baseball bat, tied up, and then watches as the assailant picks up the daughter and (mercifully for us viewers) murders her off-camera. Later, we learn that the wife was also murdered.
Cut to attorney Rice and his team accepting a plea bargain where the killer, Darby (Christian Stolte), has agreed to turn state's evidence against his co-assailant, Ames (Josh Stewart). That will end up putting Ames on death row, while Darby - the real killer - would only be guilty of third-degree murder and imprisoned for 3-5 years.
Shelton's not happy about this plea bargain, resulting in Rice yelling at him that "it's not what you know, it's what you can prove in court. I know you don't think it right now, but this is a victory for us."
It's not a victory, and, frankly, Law Abiding Citizen gets so muddled up with its complicated storyline and poor performances from both Butler and Foxx that it's a movie best left for a DVD rental or even skipped entirely.