Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 26 Critics

Critic 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. The script does create sufficient tension and intrigue to hook viewers along with a photogenic, hardworking cast.
  3. That the film, directed in swift strokes by F. Gary Gray from a screenplay credited to Kurt Wimmer, doesn't really work - unrelentingly grim, unintentionally funny - is almost beside the point. It's a wild concept.
  4. 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.
  5. 50
    The payback in Law Abiding Citizen doesn't have a cathartic kick, because the revenge is so extreme it's horrifying.
  6. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Deep within Law Abiding Citizen lurks a thought-provoking movie. But most of what we see on the screen is implausible, superficial and only marginally involving.
  7. 50
    The biggest problem with Law Abiding Citizen, however, is that the plot is just plain dumb.
  8. LawAbiding Citizen smells a bit musty these days. Indeed, in an era when the debate has shifted from too little state vigilance to too damn much, this thing seems almost quaint.
  9. Clyde is meant to be nuts, but too often it's Law Abiding Citizen that checks rationality at the door.
  10. The movie starts out as a potboiler with a troubling character arc; unfortunately, it ends up becoming a goofy, story-overwhelming Rube Goldberg contraption that would make the producers of the "Saw" series blush.
  11. Reviewed by: Mark Jenkins
    We're supposed to be awed, but a more reasonable response is to giggle. How does a Kevlar tie kill? And if it can, why hasn't the CIA sent a Kevlar scarf to Osama bin Laden?
  12. Reviewed by: Angie Errigo
    Relentlessly ugly, preposterous and hackneyed of dialogue: guilty on all counts. It will do well, then.
  13. 40
    Law Abiding Citizen, ultimately and inappropriately, tips the scales in favor of the Man over mankind. Somebody call Charles Bronson.
  14. 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.
  15. 38
    Jeez, did the "surprise" climax have to be this eye-rollingly stupid?
  16. Such a lazy action-drama underachiever, it seems unfair to target stars Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler for bringing their C game.
  17. 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.
  18. 30
    Wears its preposterousness with a certain pride. It’s about the cat-and-mouse game between two very smart guys, and it’s perfectly happy to be as dumb as it wants.
  19. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    Butler has the showier part, but his impersonation of the tragic hero is undercut by his weird resemblance to Soupy Sales. You start hoping that Shelton will kill somebody with a custard (or puffer-fish) pie to the face.
  20. 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.
  21. Reviewed by: Cliff Doerksen
    Generally I don’t mind a little recreational fascism as long as it’s deep-fried in savory violent vengeance, but this overwrought mess gives vigilantism a bad name.
  22. 25
    At last, the missing link be tween "Phantom of the Opera" and "Saw." Welcome to the gonzo revenge saga Law Abiding Citizen.
  23. Reviewed by: Amy Biancolli
    Vigilante movies hold a firm place in cinematic history, but for them to work, the vigilante needs to be a sympathetic anti-hero.
  24. 25
    Like a lot of action-movie directors, Gray lacks the imagination to view the art of cat-and-mouse as more than a chance to play with state-of-the-art war technology.
  25. A vigilante/torture-porn potpourri, is particularly toxic because it's scented with phony importance.
  26. 25
    A flagrantly ridiculous thriller that tries to retrofit "Saw" to function as a mainstream, semi-respectable vigilante picture
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 210 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 54 out of 92
  2. Negative: 21 out of 92
  1. Dec 19, 2011
    Its so generic, straight forward, and predictable that it ruins the movie. Jamie Foxx is a terrible lead as well, The rest of the cast was ok. Gerald Butler is good though and the only reason to watch the film. The action was ok as well but the entire script was just terrible. A lot of ruined potential here. Full Review »
  2. Sep 25, 2011
    The movie ends with a pretty cliche on top, but its the first 30 minutes of "Law Abiding Citizen" with the tension between Butler and Foxx that will entertain you. Full Review »
  3. Nov 2, 2011
    I had to check to make sure it was the same movie by the end, because it wasn't nothing like the first half hour.
    What a complete disaster for
    a movie that started so strong, could have easily been an 8. Full Review »