Director F. Gary Gray's thriller has all of the necessary parts for a top notch drama, but misses
The film opens with a brutal murder in the home of Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler). His wife and daughter
are killed in front of him and he lives for the day that justice will be meted out for his terrible loss.
The two killers are caught and the hot shot Philadelphia Assistant D. A. Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx) doesn't
want to mess up his almost perfect conviction rate, so he makes a deal. The thug that actually
murdered the Shelton family gets three years for turning state's evidence against his partner. The
partner who stood by and watched the killings, gets the death penalty.
Ten years pass and Shelton has been storing up hatred, planning for the day when he can exact some
justice himself. He kidnaps, tortures (in a scene right out of the worst slice and dice movies) and kills
the perpetrator that served his meager prison sentence. But, his mission doesn't stop there, as he
won't rest until everyone that had anything to do with his case pays.
It's difficult to have any empathy for either of these main characters. Rice seems to make decisions
based solely on his job advancement, and even though he has a wife and young daughter himself,
he showed very little emotion when dealing with Shelton.
And Shelton is a sympathetic figure at first, but he crosses the line when he not only goes after the
guilty, but also targets the innocent.
The story has some unexpected twists and turns, but most of the action is somewhat predictable,
and often unbelievable.