Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 24 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 24
  2. Negative: 11 out of 24
  1. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Well-made, often intensely gripping genre piece.
  2. 63
    Wan's movie is very efficient. Bacon, skilled pro that he is, provides the character the movie needs, just as he has in such radically different films as "Where the Truth Lies," "The Woodsman" and "Mystic River."
  3. 63
    Death Sentence would be right at home as one half of "Grindhouse"'s B-movie double bill.
  4. Reviewed by: Michael Ferraro
    The action sequences are still pretty imaginative, if not nonsensical.
  5. 58
    The film has one thing going for it--it's certainly never boring.
  6. Bears more than a slight connection to the landmark of the genre, 1974's "Death Wish," starring Charles Bronson. It is based on novelist Brian Garfield's sequel to his original book, though any resemblance is tenuous at best.
  7. Death Sentence's message - that vengeance is ultimately futile, spinning out a vicious circle of rage and hate - may be commendable, but there's nothing noteworthy about the way Wan, Bacon and their troops go about delivering it.
  8. Reviewed by: Meredith Goldstein
    The cynics will slap their foreheads, the squeamish will cover their eyes, but the revenge movie fanatics should be nice and satisfied after the whole ordeal.
  9. Reviewed by: Kamal AL-Solaylee
    Sadly, Bacon is only intermittently convincing as a man hell-bent on revenge or a father tortured by what he has unleashed on his family.
  10. 50
    While there is the requisite amount of shorn limbs and splashing blood one might expect from the director of "Saw," Wan should be saluted for putting the coup de grâce off-screen.
  11. Death Sentence, directed by "Saw" co-creator James Wan, swings the pendulum too far. One day Nick is a mild-mannered nerd who spends his days making (and loving) risk assessments for his company; the next, he's Travis Bickle from 1976's "Taxi Driver."
  12. It's a cartoon that thinks it isn't one.
  13. Reviewed by: Matt Zoller Seitz
    Aside from a stunning three-minute tracking shot as the gang pursues Nick through a parking garage, and Mr. Bacon’s hauntingly pale, dark-eyed visage, Mr. Wan’s film is a tedious, pandering time-waster.
  14. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    Wan wants to have something both ways, and in the end, he gets almost nothing. As Clint Eastwood said in yet another genre picture: A man’s gotta know his limitations.
  15. 33
    The movie has nothing to offer except titillation.
  16. Reviewed by: Jim Ridley
    The only things anyone’s likely to remember, besides Bacon’s crazy-eyes act, are John Goodman’s soon-to-be-legendary turn as a bilious bug-eyed gun dealer and a hellacious back-alley/parking-garage chase shot from a careening fender-level camera. Like much of the movie, it’s as hammily dynamic as it is impossible to swallow.
  17. Reviewed by: Joshua Katzman
    This graphically violent film suffers from cursorily developed characters whose primary function is to advance the creaky plot.
  18. Bacon's performance in "Saw" creator James Wan's laughably extreme revenge thriller Death Sentence is six degrees of ham.
  19. 25
    A very belated and very silly follow-up to "Death Wish."
  20. Reviewed by: Steve Winn
    Almost everything about the movie lands with an emphatic, preordained thud.
  21. 25
    The film is preposterous on so many counts that it's hard to enumerate them.
  22. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    This film is so superficial and shifts so jarringly in tone that nothing feels authentic -- not Bacon's hard-working husband and father, nor his maniacal vengeance seeker.
  23. The morality of revenge is barely at issue in a movie that pushes the plausibility of revenge right over a cliff.
  24. One well-staged sequence in a parking garage is the film's only memorable moment
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 52 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 27
  2. Negative: 8 out of 27
  1. Sep 25, 2011
    Kevin Bacon is just the best revenge dad I've seen to current date. His performance begs to differ in "Death Sentence". Unfortunately, the movie's lethargic script and uninspiring dialogue doesn't. Full Review »
  2. KevinA
    Jan 24, 2009
    I'm glad I didn't have to pay to see this. The family scenes were so predictable that I fast forwarded through most of them. I do have to say that the action scenes were fun to watch. They were actually quite intense even though they made me laugh. I kept wondering why the cops never really interrogated Bacon or arrested him. They had probable cause. I guess it's because he was killing scumbags that the cops couldn't seem to catch, or even seem to want to catch, even after they killed some cops. So, ultimately I would have given it a 1 if it weren't for some of the action scenes. Full Review »
  3. RoyP.
    Feb 3, 2008
    An ill-contrived, preachy, brain-dead, and mindless mess. Also, a guide on how not to use the washed out/somewhat overexposed look in nearly every damn scene. This movie looks like it was shot by first-year film students, except done with less energy. Full Review »