Metascore
29

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 13 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 13
  2. Negative: 8 out of 13
  1. Exploitation shamelessly posing as empowerment, Neema Barnette's self-congratulatory drama about women in prison promises to reveal shocking truths.
  2. Reviewed by: Peter Debruge
    38
    There's no question that Civil Brand has an ambitious premise, but it feels boxed in by the standard prison-movie formula.
  3. 30
    Civil Brand's aesthetic is pure mid-'70s blaxploitation, and not in an ironic or reverent sense. Even the heavy-handed political rhetoric is in keeping with the neo-blaxploitation vibe, since even bad blaxploitation movies often had revolutionary undercurrents.
  4. Before Civil Brand erupts into over-the-top melodrama (which is pretty early), it shows some interest in its characters, and in its less screechy moments the dialogue has the rough, bantering ring of actual speech.
  5. Plagued by continuity problems, ham-fisted storytelling and a problematic voiceover by Da Brat, Civil Brand feels less like a prison movie than a prison sentence.
  6. 25
    The cast includes rappers Da Brat, Mos Def and MC Lyte. Their fans might get some pleasure from Civil Brand. Everybody else best stay away.
  7. 20
    Without a scorcher like Pam Grier, the sub-NYPD Blue dialogue and acting dilute what could have been a shrieking wake-up call about for-profit prisons.
  8. 20
    Corrupt warden, sadistic guards, new inmate debauched by her surroundings, prison-break hostage drama--could have come straight from an old George Raft vehicle.

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