Caption: Jamie Foxx, left, and Gerard Butler play adversaries in “Law Abiding Citizen.”

Law Abiding Citizen (Anchor Bay, 2 Blu-ray or standard DVDs, NR/R, 118/109 min.). The film opens with a home invasion: Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler) is tied and stabbed, then has to watch helplessly as his wife is stabbed, raped and killed. His young daughter also is killed. The two robber/killers are arrested, but the one who actually did all the violence, Darby, is willing to testify against the other, Ames, so prosecutor Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx), who seems more concerned about his 96 percent conviction rate, makes the deal. Darby only serves three years in prison.

Naturally, Shelton is more than upset — and rightfully so, and we root for him the whole movie — and the film jumps forward 10 years. It is execution day for Ames, but someone has tampered with the drugs and his death is more painful, and graphic, than it should be. Then Darby is snatched and, by the time he is found, is in 25 pieces. Shelton is arrested and confesses to both crimes in return for a deluxe mattress in prison. Yet, even while in solitude, Shelton continues to exact deadly vengeance against all those involved in the trial. (The reveal actually shows it to be simpler than you may have imagined.)

A highlight of the film is Shelton’s bail hearing, in which he defends himself successfully, and is about to be released, when he explodes at the judge, pointing out that is what is wrong with a system that lets killers go free. An interesting slant is that it appears Shelton not only is exacting revenge, but he also is trying to steer Rice back onto the path of justice rather than efficiency.

The review is of the Blu-ray version’s longer director’s cut (I imagine there is more of Darby’s torture), although the theatrical cut is included as a second disc, along with audio commentary by producers Lucas Foster and Alan Siegel. There also are three behind-the-scenes looks, including one on the visual effects, and a mash-up of the trailers. Grade: film 3.25 stars; extras 2.75 stars

The Stepfather (Sony, Blu-ray or standard DVD, NR, 102 min.). Mystery writer Donald E. Westlake wrote the screenplay for the original “The Stepfather,” loosely based on the story of John List, a multiple murderer caught in New Jersey in 1971. The film was released in 1987, starred Terry O’Quinn (John Locke in TV’s “Lost”) in the title role and became a cult classic. (Shout! Factory released the original on DVD last fall.)

Stepping into the role in this remake is Dylan Walsh of TV’s “Nip/Tuck.” In a homage to the original film, director Nelson McCormick basically presents the same opening, with Walsh’s soon-to-be David Harris changing his appearance in the bathroom and then calmly walking through a house littered with the body of a woman and three children, his most recent disposable family.

We next see Harris several states away, where he butts into a conversation divorced Susan Harding (Sela Ward) is having with her younger son and daughter. The film jumps forward six months as Michael (Penn Badgley of TV’s “Gossip Girl”) returns home from a year at military school. Despite his soon-to-be new father’s effort to enroll Michael back into the local school for his senior year, Michael gradually comes to believe that something is not right with Harris. Perhaps it is because he forgets the name of his deceased daughter during their lunch, or is it that the elderly neighbor just happens to fall down a flight of stairs and die only days after she says Harris looks like the murderer’s sketch on “America’s Most Wanted”? And things do not fare very well for Michael’s real dad (Jon Tenney as Jay) when he starts investigating Harris.

The big change here is the doubting child is a hunky teen male — he’s on the swim team, so lots of shirtless moments — instead of a female as in the 1987 film. Amber Heard is on board as Kelly, Michael’s eye-candy girlfriend and doubter. There’s enough suspense to keep things going and Walsh does have some creepy moments as Harris. I also like Filter’s slamming version of The Turtles hit “Happy Together” at the film’s end.

Blu-ray DVD extras include audio commentary by the director and actors Badgley and Walsh; a 20:12 making-of feature; 11:35 on the stunts; a 4:52 gag reel; and the ability to watch the film with movieIQ information on the cast, music and trivia. Grade: film and extras 3 stars

Rating guide: 5 stars = classic; 4 stars = excellent; 3 stars = good; 2 stars = fair; dog = skip it

Additional reviews are available online at and include the TV series “Defying Gravity,” “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” season six and the blaxploitation parody “Black Dynamite.”