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|“||I'm going to bring the whole f**king diseased corrupt temple down on your head. It's going to be biblical.||„|
|~ Clyde Shelton to Nick Rice|
|“||Sit down, 'cause you're gonna be busy.||„|
|~ Clyde Shelton to Nick Rice.|
Clyde Shelton (also known as the Law Abiding Citizen) is the titular main antagonist in the 2009 thriller film Law Abiding Citizen. He is a former family man who murdered several "evil" police officers and criminals in an attempt to get rid of the justice system's corruption.
He was portrayed by Gerard Butler.
Clyde Shelton was an engineer, inventor and family man, as he was married and had a daughter, both of whom he loved deeply. However, his perfect life was tragically cut short when a ruthless and unpleasant criminal named Clarence Darby and his accomplice Rupert Ames broke into Shelton's house, restrained him, and murdered his wife and daughter in front of his eyes. Though the two were rightfully caught, prosecutor Nick Rice (the protagonist of the film) was forced to make a deal with Darby; let Darby off with only a few years of prison time while Ames was to be executed, since the evidence is not enough to make a full conviction against Darby and that Rice doesn't want to risk lowering his 99% conviction rate if he loses. This unfairness left Shelton extremely betrayed by the justice system, as it twisted Clyde's mind into a dangerous and vengeful sociopath.
Over the course of the next ten years, a volatile Clyde acquired even more wealth by using his engineering and inventing skills to become a contractor for the Department of Defense, where he became an assassin and weapons developer. A former college of his described Shelton as being one of the best assassins and tacticians ever and was responsible for killing numerous targets without ever having to be in the same room as them due to ingenious tactics and killing tools. This allowed him to begin planning for his revenge scheme. In the meantime, he acquired numerous strategic real estate properties and began studying law. Finally, a decade later, Clyde kidnapped and savagely murdered Darby in revenge for his family's demise. Later, he purposely sabotaged Ames' execution machine to make his intentionally painless death much longer and agonizing. Despite Clyde being caught red-handed, he still used his dangerously intelligent mind to cleverly murder the entire police team responsible for Darby's commuted sentence, all within his solitary cell and in an attempt to straighten out the corrupted justice system by making deals with Rice and playing mind games with him.
With only Rice remaining after several of his aides are killed by a drone built by Shelton, the latter attempts to finish off his master plan by using a secret tunnel to get into his base and plant a bomb in City Hall, hoping to kill the Mayor and her aides. Rice later finds out that Shelton had deliberately got himself to be put into solitary confinement so that he can sneak out to his lair, which may explain how he had committed the murders. After secretly returning to his cell, Clyde is surprised to see Rice waiting for him, having caught wind of his plan and berating him for spreading the pain he suffered to everyone. Rice then tells Shelton about the effects of one's decisions that will affect the lives of others. At that point, Clyde offers to strike another deal, but Rice refuses and states that he'll never make deals with murderers again, admitting that he does regret making the deal with Darby and acknowledging Clyde for teaching him a lesson about it. Though Clyde is filled with joy and delight that he finally cleansed Rice of his "rottenness", he still activates the bomb to set off. However, his happiness is cut short when he realizes that the bomb was secretly planted in the prison Clyde resided in at the last minute by Rice. As Rice sprinted out of the jail, Clyde finally sees that he has lost as he looks at a bracelet that his daughter once made before she died. As such, Clyde accepts his fate as the bomb detonates, destroying his cell and killing him instantly.
- Clyde is similar to the following villains:
- Helmut Zemo from Captain America: Civil War, as they are intelligent criminal masterminds who plot revenge against those who murdered their families, and they succeed. Unlike Clyde, Zemo survives.
- Jigsaw, the titular antagonist from the Saw franchise, as they both used to be engineers before they turned evil, and applied their intellect to pursuing noble goals.