Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 26 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 216 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Clyde Shelton is an upstanding family man whose wife and daughter are brutally murdered during a home invasion. When the killers are caught, Nick Rice, a hotshot young Philadelphia prosecutor, is assigned to the case. Over his objections, Nick is forced by his boss to offer one of the suspects a light sentence in exchange for testifying against his accomplice. Fast forward ten years. The man who got away with murder is found dead and Clyde Shelton coolly admits his guilt. Then he issues a warning to Nick: Either fix the flawed justice system that failed his family, or key players in the trial will die. Soon Shelton follows through on his threats, orchestrating from his jail cell a string of spectacularly diabolical assassinations that can be neither predicted nor prevented. Philadelphia is gripped with fear as Shelton's high-profile targets are slain one after another and the authorities are powerless to halt his reign of terror. Only Nick can stop the killing, and to do so he must outwit this brilliant sociopath in a harrowing contest of wills in which even the smallest misstep means death. With his own family now in Shelton's crosshairs, Nick finds himself in a desperate race against time facing a deadly adversary who seems always to be one step ahead. (Overture Films) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 26
  2. Negative: 12 out of 26
  1. 75
    One of those movies you like more at the time than in retrospect.
  2. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    True torture-porn aficionados will be disappointed, as editor Tariq Anwar cuts away right before blade meets flesh -- a move that feels a tad, well, gutless under the circumstances. But elsewhere, "Citizen" proves startlingly graphic, even by R-rated standards.
  3. 50
    The biggest problem with Law Abiding Citizen, however, is that the plot is just plain dumb.
  4. Reviewed by: Glenn Whipp
    The film's greatest sin isn't its cynical moral posturing but its complete failure to engage audiences on even a visceral level.
  5. Reviewed by: Robert Wilonsky
    If the filmmakers meant a word of it, they'd quit making films and do something more useful. "Saw" with a conscience is not what the world needs.
  6. Reviewed by: Dan Kois
    A movie devoted to baroque revenge would be, on its own terms, acceptable; what makes Law Abiding Citizen so risible is its humorless conviction that it's got Big Ideas at its core.
  7. 25
    A flagrantly ridiculous thriller that tries to retrofit "Saw" to function as a mainstream, semi-respectable vigilante picture

See all 26 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 55 out of 93
  2. Negative: 21 out of 93
  1. Aug 16, 2010
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Way underrated, deserves at least a 70 from critics, but they know nothing, listen to the user reviews.

    Anyways it's full of action, and makes somebody really think. A++ movie would watch again.
  2. paul
    Nov 27, 2009
    No one listens to critics anyway at the end of the day, what the hell do they no? i just watched the movie and its awesome, great story, very smart, gerard butler bravo on some more great acting, great action. you cant go wrong with this film, as for the bad comments well people who obviously just like to be the negatives of life. Expand
  3. Nov 25, 2010
    Awesome movie! I do personally think the system sucks! Too many stupid rules and regulations and loop holes! Not too many people might want to admit it but I bet there are a ton of people who would love to have the brains and know how just like the Anti-Hero in this movie. I can tell you that if anything ever happened to my family and the maximum wasn't done against the criminals, I have no doubt that revenge will be taken into my own hands! It was really weird but I don't remember a time where I was rooting for a character of Gerard Butler's stature. Yes, there are a couple of minor flaws but overall a really well done movie. Expand
  4. RyanM.
    Feb 24, 2010
    Not as bad as I thought it wold be. Entertaining at least. And I think the best part is that we all want to enact vengeance from time to time. I found myself actually rooting for Owen. Expand
  5. WangD.
    Apr 11, 2010
    the ideas are appealing sort of a "dark night" destination but the deliverance is very flawed
  6. TBone
    Oct 17, 2009
    Great movie, terrible ending.
  7. RichardW.
    Oct 16, 2009
    Yuch. What were a fine group actors thinking? Paycheck, maybe?

See all 93 User Reviews