This isn’t a bad movie, but it does have one massive flaw. This flaw almost makes the movie more interesting to watch as an experiment. The main problem with the movie is casting. The two main leads, Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler should be playing each other’s character instead of their own.
Let’s back track for a second. The movie is about a man trying desperately to make a point about justice, but going too far. Ten years ago, Gerard Butler’s family was murdered and the justice system, through a series of loopholes, only gives the death penalty to one of the killers. The other only has to do five years in jail. Jamie Foxx, Butler’s lawyer tries to explain to him that this is just how the legal system works. Of course this isn’t good enough for Butler and a decade later he starts killing people with timed explosions and remote controlled devices, using the fallible justice system to his advantage in an insane attempt to show Jamie Foxx how wrong his thinking is. Jamie Foxx for his part is a lawyer, career minded, who would cut the same moral corners most people would in his place. He’s supposed to come across as cold and callous at the beginning of the film and then, ten years later, he has a family and we see how human he is and how much he loves his family and hope that he stops Butler.
The subject matter is quite strong, but the problem arises in the movie that we need to sympathize with Butler and we don’t really. Not too much. He’s a little creepy and evil, as though he’s enjoying it. But he’s the tragic hero and we only see him as a bad guy in the movie. On the other side is the callous lawyer who is played by one of today’s most likable actors. You feel sympathy for him right away and I don’t think you should in order to tell this story properly.
Maybe I’m wrong, but this miscasting colors the movie poorly. Still, it isn’t a total loss and as I said earlier, now you can watch the movie as an experiment and see if I’m right.