SPOILERS FOR A THIRTEEN-YEAR-OLD GERARD BUTLER MOVIE BELOW, PLEASE BE WARNED AND READ ANOTHER FINE ARTICLE FROM GIANT FREAKIN ROBOT IF YOU ARE CONCERNED
Gerard Butler is one of those Hollywood stars who has a surprising number of blockbusters under his belt. After exploding into the mainstream with Zack Snyder’s adaptation of the Frank Miller comic book 300, Butler has spent years alternating between critically despised, commercially successful romantic comedies and critically underwhelming, box office-dominating action thrillers. According to Variety, one of the best of the latter movies, Law Abiding Citizen, is unexpectedly receiving a sequel, thirteen years after its release.
Law Abiding Citizen stars Gerard Butler as an ordinary, completely average man who watches his wife and daughter be brutally murdered during the course of a home invasion. While he survives, a district attorney played by Jamie Foxx cuts a deal with the cartoonishly fiendish murderer in order to maintain his conviction record, and all hell breaks loose. It turns out that some evidence was mishandled, making a clean conviction for a double-homicide with a direct witness somehow impossible, and justice is derailed. It also turns out that Gerard Butler’s completely ordinary, average man is actually a former CIA agent who was in the little-publicized “elaborate revenge plot” division. As you might expect, the Gerard Butler movie made $126 million at the box office and has a 26% on Rotten Tomatoes.
But Gerard Butler movies rarely do well with critics. It can be argued that it doesn’t really matter when movies like Olympus Has Fallen (and the subsequent series of films in which Butler protects Aaron Eckhart from increasingly improbable threats) make box office bank. While Law Abiding Citizen director F. Gary Gray is currently not attached to return to the sequel, original screenwriter Kurt Wimmer and producer Lucas Foster are both on board. It also seems likely that all measures to ensure Gerard Butler and Jamie Foxx return will be undertaken, but there is currently no confirmation of that.
The sequel to Law Abiding Citizen will also have to deal with the fact that Gerard Butler’s revenge-driven father and husband is killed by a bomb at the end of the movie. While a movie could certainly be anchored around Jamie Foxx’s district attorney character, the original movie largely owed its success to the chemistry of its two leads. Action movies being what they are, there is also no real reason that Gerard Butler could have not survived a close-up explosion to appear in a sequel, or failing that, appear in flashbacks or some similar cinematic device.
Gerard Butler most recently appeared in a thriller called Copshop with Frank Grillo and has three more projects due to be released. One of those films, All-Star Weekend, is directed by his Law Abiding Citizen co-star Jamie Foxx, who also stars. Butler’s part is described as “a Russian who loves gymnastics,” so it seems likely that it might be more of a cameo than a full-fledged part, but you never know. While Law Abiding Citizen may not have made an impression with critics, it has had a long life on streaming platforms, which probably explains this much-delayed sequel.