Clyde Shelton wants revenge for the deaths of his wife and daughter. Who does he want revenge from? Well, the killers at first. That is until the justice system lets him down and he feels even more wronged. So he sets about to expand his plan of revenge to include all who played a part in the unsuccessful handling of his case, especially the lead prosecutor, Nick Rice.
What sets this film apart from many other revenge-themed action flicks is one simple question... "how?". Very early on, Clyde himself gets imprisoned, and it's from this vantage point that he orchestrates his masterplan. But even from the inside of a prison cell, he seems to be the creator of havoc and destruction in the city of Philadephia, as his plan starts bringing the city to its knees. Of course, I can't reveal how he does it, but it's truly a smart and twist-filled ride.
Foxx as the prosecutor doesn't push any new acting buttons, but he manages quite comfortably to be sympathetic. The same cannot be said of Butler's character though. While his performance as Shelton is very good, it becomes a character that starts out to be a good guy, but unfortunately, with the bodies starting to pile up, your judgment of him starts to turn. And the shift of where your loyalties lie should surprise even you.
An action-packed movie, bound to keep you on the edge of your seat, and for two-thirds of the movie, will probably have you confused regarding whom you should root for. (4 out of 5, by Carlisle Johnson)
Clyde Shelton is an upstanding family man whose wife and daughter are brutally murdered during a home invasion. When the killers are caught, Nick Rice, a hotshot young Philadelphia prosecutor, is assigned to the case. Over his objections, Nick is forced by his boss to offer one of the suspects a light sentence in exchange for testifying against his accomplice.
Fast forward ten years. The man who got away with murder is found dead and Clyde Shelton coolly admits his guilt. Then he issues a warning to Nick: Either fix the flawed justice system that failed his family, or key players in the trial will die. Soon Shelton follows through on his threats, orchestrating from his jail cell a string of spectacularly diabolical assassinations that can be neither predicted nor prevented.
Philadelphia is gripped with fear as Shelton's high-profile targets are slain one after another and the authorities are powerless to halt his reign of terror. Only Nick can stop the killing, and to do so he must outwit this brilliant sociopath in a harrowing contest of wills in which even the smallest misstep means death.
With his own family now in Shelton's crosshairs, Nick finds himself in a desperate race against time facing a deadly adversary who seems always to be one step ahead.
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Review This Product
Fri, 16 Apr 2010 | Review by: Micky B
While admittedly Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler) does witness the raping and killing of his wife and daughter: this nevertheless gives him no moral right to take the law into his own hands some ten years later by planning and executing the violent deaths of not only those who committed the crime... but also everybody who was involved in their trial. Of course, none of this would have come about had the prosecuting attorney Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx) simply done his job properly - and not been more concerned about maintaining his 96% conviction rate than the pursuits of what is right and what is wrong. Granted, I have never in any way understood America's so-called justice system that allows "plea-bargaining" and legal "deals" in order for individuals to receive lighter sentences than their crimes deserve... and this movie goes a long way to expose this way of doing these things for what they are.
And despite the violence and bloodshedding, I couldn't help starting to "like" Shelton! He might be sitting in jail, but he shows himself to be still capable of "making things happen" through his extensive advanced planning. I particularly liked the "deals" he was making with Rice that involved strict time deadlines which - if Rice failed to meet them - well...
It's a great action thriller that gives one plenty to think about, even once the film is over. Some viewers might get confused in certain parts, but my only negative comment is that the ending, while almost inevitable, was rather sudden. (I still rather like the Shelton character!)
Much as I have come to admire Jamie Foxx's acting ("The Soloist", etc); even he is eclipsed here by Gerard Butler's subtle but chilling portrayal of Clyde Shelton.
Verdict: a great evening's viewing!
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