Metascore
40

Mixed or average reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 18
  2. Negative: 4 out of 18
  1. Quite an entertaining genre piece boasting a terrifically sinewy lead performance from Wanda De Jesus.
  2. 63
    As it is, Illegal Tender works as a melodrama, and it benefits enormously from the performance of Wanda DeJesus.
  3. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    63
    The movie's a genuine oddity: a Latino action drama with one foot in bullet-spitting genre flicks -- '70s blaxploitation and '80s coke-kingpin films are the primary reference points -- and the other in raggedly personal family melodrama.
  4. Reviewed by: Joe Leydon
    60
    Too muted to have much lasting impact, and remains modestly diverting only on a scene-to-scene basis. There's no quotable dialogue, no standout action sequence, no flashy supporting performances -- in short, nothing to lift Illegal Tender from the level of competent but inconsequential B-movie.
  5. Reviewed by: Marc Bernardin
    58
    For a second, the movie has the snap of a truly surprising thriller -- like a Hispanic "Kill Bill" -- about an aging lioness willing to kill to protect her cub.
  6. What kind of movie is misdirected, poorly acted, preposterously written--and still wholly entertaining? A B-movie, of course. While Illegal Tender has misguided pretensions towards Serious Filmmaking, it's surprisingly likeable if you see it instead as a cheesy thriller good for a lazy Friday night.
  7. Never gets the mixture right, lurching between bullet-happy shootouts and overwrought domestic content.
  8. 50
    This tale of crime and punishment is wrapped in a veneer of flashy attitude but founders on mundane details.
  9. 50
    A throwback to 1970s blaxploitation flicks, with a Latin accent, Illegal Tender would be a brassy, sassy guilty pleasure if it were more, well, pleasurable.
  10. Pistol-packing De Jesus evokes Pam Grier in spots but certainly holds her own.
  11. Reviewed by: Rafer Guzman
    42
    The movie's one bright spot is Gonzalez, a refreshingly natural young actor who needs to get out of B-movies.
  12. 42
    For a film about growing up, Illegal Tender loses itself in a lot of silly juvenilia.
  13. Never transcends its clichés.
  14. Reviewed by: Robert Wilonsky
    40
    We’re too bored to have fun.
  15. Reviewed by: Tasha Robinson
    38
    Illegal Tender echoes "A History of Violence," another gritty film that explores escaping a criminal past. But the vast vapidity behind Illegal Tender's ill-conceived story line is far harder to overcome.
  16. Luridly earnest and laughably immoral, Illegal Tender is an old genre movie with a new look. Call it Hispanixploitation.
  17. 25
    Illegal Tender is the sort of crime movie in which nothing, not one detail, has been observed from real life; it's composed entirely of fantasies and falsehoods lifted from bad movies and hip-hop videos.
  18. 0
    The real mystery here is why this slapdash semi-effort didn't go straight to video.
User Score
5.3

Mixed or average reviews- based on 10 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 6
  2. Negative: 3 out of 6
  1. AlejandroR.
    Oct 23, 2007
    4
    This movie was not so good. The main actor is Rick Gonzalez, thats not saying much right there. This is the guy thats in Coach Carter in the This movie was not so good. The main actor is Rick Gonzalez, thats not saying much right there. This is the guy thats in Coach Carter in the background most of the time and in War of the Worlds for less than 2 minutes, wow what a resume! Nobody could act in this movie. On top of that, its long and repetitive. It has some gun shots, but its still not very entertaining. Full Review »
  2. IreneB.
    Sep 5, 2007
    9
    This was a great movie! go and see it.
  3. LoriD.
    Aug 31, 2007
    0
    I am Puerto Rican and was disgusted with this movie. As if Latinos don't have enough stereotypes against them! I'm 25 from the I am Puerto Rican and was disgusted with this movie. As if Latinos don't have enough stereotypes against them! I'm 25 from the Bronx, and I don't talk with a Rosie Perez accent. Why does every movie with a Hispanic actor have to find these actors with those ridiculous accents? I don't talk like that! It's unrealistic....Can we start looking for actors who speak properly even though they're hispanic? Why aren't we seeing more Hispanics in positive movies, and not the damn stereotypical violence,sex, money, and drugs theme over and over again? Pretty disturbing if you ask me! The movie lacked suspense, the main character finds his father's killers way to easily and the movie finishes! UM YAH WHERE'S THE THRILL IN THAT? Let's throw that one in the mix with Hector Lavoe! Full Review »