Law Abiding Citizen

User Score
6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 269 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 41 out of 269

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User Reviews

  1. Aug 2, 2013
    8
    I think the critics really misunderstood this movie. Some compared it to the disgusting series "Saw" or "Torture Porn", they couldn't be more wrong, there is honestly not very much gore in the movie at all except for two quick scenes. Granted some disgusting things are implied throughout the movie to add to its emotion and intensity and it does succeed.

    Gerard Butler plays a fantastic
    I think the critics really misunderstood this movie. Some compared it to the disgusting series "Saw" or "Torture Porn", they couldn't be more wrong, there is honestly not very much gore in the movie at all except for two quick scenes. Granted some disgusting things are implied throughout the movie to add to its emotion and intensity and it does succeed.

    Gerard Butler plays a fantastic role as a villain (possibly the only better bad guy I've seen is "The Joker" from "The Dark Knight".) Jaime Fox plays the good guy and his performance is descent.

    Like others have stated the ending is one of those "really? come on now?" moments but that is when you have to say to yourself "it's just a movie."

    If you're looking for a good crime thriller on a late Friday night, this is a perfect pick.
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  2. Jun 4, 2012
    7
    Gerard Butler and Jamie Foxx play the lead roles in Law Abiding Citizen, a brutal thriller in which a father and husband (Butler) makes an example of the legal system that wronged him.

    Jamie Foxx plays the prosecutor who makes a plea deal with the man who killed Butler's wife and child. In exacting payback on an attorney for his previous decisions, the film is similar to Cape Fear but LAC
    Gerard Butler and Jamie Foxx play the lead roles in Law Abiding Citizen, a brutal thriller in which a father and husband (Butler) makes an example of the legal system that wronged him.

    Jamie Foxx plays the prosecutor who makes a plea deal with the man who killed Butler's wife and child. In exacting payback on an attorney for his previous decisions, the film is similar to Cape Fear but LAC actually shares more in common with Saw as Butler cleverly butchers his way through the cast.

    LAC begins in an interesting manner and tries to argue the case for both flawed sides of the justice system. However, once Butler lands himself in jail and puts his plan into effect this balanced view disappears and is replaced by a violent killing spree. Butler's logic seems confused as he vehemently denies that his actions are revenge, but by killing everyone close to his case, I struggle to see what else they could be described as. Mass murder of the local justice system seems overkill for ensuring that lessons are learnt. The film will no doubt promote some discussion as to the point at which Butler's character's actions become unjustified and he transgresses from the film's hero to ruthless villain.

    Butler outshines Foxx, initially as the troubled father and husband with a cause to fight before his descent into his role as psychopathic murderer.

    Law Abiding Citizen had the potential to be a cat and mouse thriller with a conscience but is ultimately just a reasonably decent thriller, but one lacking the clever twists and intelligent ending of Saw.
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  3. Nov 28, 2012
    9
    the people who have left these low reviews need to relax. this movie is very strong. first off gerard butler plays an awesome psycho. the whole plot and twist at the end is really awesome. I loved the way it was written and built up. this movie is a must see. everyone I have told to watch this movie has loved it. the acting is good and the twist is even better
  4. Jul 22, 2014
    8
    Whilst Law Abiding Citizen is spectacularly ridiculous, it is incredibly enjoyable and thrilling - and has you on the very edge of your seat until the end.
  5. Dec 4, 2013
    7
    the movie start with a crack of intense but ends with unexpected disorder.So i didn't like this that much.if they ends with more explanation of the moment that would be better.
  6. Dec 30, 2013
    10
    nice. and unexpected movie. Only the finish is expect-able and a bit disappointing.
    But in total a very nice movie, that does not follow the convention of Hollywood
  7. Sep 25, 2011
    7
    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.
  8. Nov 25, 2010
    9
    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, IAwesome 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
  9. Dec 17, 2010
    9
    I just finished watching this movie and I don't understand what people are complaining about saying this movie is not that good. It is a very clever movie that has a very clear and loud message "Everyone has to take responsibility for their actions." Nick played by Jamie Foxx was too concerned about his status and was focused on achieving a high conviction rate so cut deals for criminalsI just finished watching this movie and I don't understand what people are complaining about saying this movie is not that good. It is a very clever movie that has a very clear and loud message "Everyone has to take responsibility for their actions." Nick played by Jamie Foxx was too concerned about his status and was focused on achieving a high conviction rate so cut deals for criminals that should be locked up for a very long time. Clyde was an innocent guy who lost his family and I can understand some people saying the good guy Clyde went way over the top to become the bad guy toward the end of the movie but I can understand why he went over the top because if you remember, Nick told Clyde at the beginning of the movie that he already finished the deal without even asking or considering Clyde's opinion. The guy lost his family and had his feet cut out from beneath him when Nick finished a deal. This is one of the best movies I've seen and it's very clever and has an important message. I'm from a different country, I wasn't born here in the United States, and I have read and witnessed about cases like these occuring often where justice is not correctly served and criminals escape day after day in my home country so maybe that's why I appreciate this movie more than others because to me, this movie is a partially a true story in some sense. Expand
  10. Jun 18, 2011
    9
    CRITICS ARE STUPID!!! This movie was great! It shows how ridiculous our justice system is. Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler do a great job, I thought Colm Meaney could have done a better job with his role but other then that it was an intense movie that was well made.
  11. Feb 24, 2013
    8
    Law Abiding Citizen is the ultimate tale of revenge. After his family is killed in a brutal home invasion, Clyde Shelton waits for the legal system to do its job, unfortunately for them, they fail him, and that's when he takes matters into his own hands. This was great, such a unique tale that really blurs the line. It's very hard to decide who's the good guy and who's the bad guy in thisLaw Abiding Citizen is the ultimate tale of revenge. After his family is killed in a brutal home invasion, Clyde Shelton waits for the legal system to do its job, unfortunately for them, they fail him, and that's when he takes matters into his own hands. This was great, such a unique tale that really blurs the line. It's very hard to decide who's the good guy and who's the bad guy in this one. That's something that makes this film unique. Gerard Butler is amazing as Shelton. Having seen several of Butler's movies previously, I thought he was just your ordinary, so-so, action star until I saw this. He has chops in this movie and can really deliver that one line, similar to Bruce Willis in Die Hard. This movie is fast moving, action packed, and isn't the same old story. Definitely go see this one! Expand
  12. Aug 16, 2010
    10
    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.
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  13. Wasabi
    Mar 5, 2010
    8
    This movie give you A perspective of what happen when a man lost his family and the lawmen trying to balance order. Forget what people say about this movie, watch it and have your own perspective. I enjoy it. Another way to show you how America justice system work.
  14. audreyg
    Feb 16, 2010
    7
    James H. is wrong if your wife and daughter were beaten to death you're saying you would only be mad for 1 to 2 years at the most. Your wrong
  15. chynadoll
    Mar 2, 2010
    10
    I don't listen to movie critics because most of the time the movies they think are good actually suck and vice-versa. Yhis movie was phenomenal. Although parts of the plot may seem implausible, there is such a powerful message being conveyed. Bravo...I. love it!
  16. ElPup
    Mar 24, 2010
    8
    A great revenge flick... Though I kinda wish it ended differently though. Gerard Butler gives a really good performance (which was a supprise to me), the kills are clever, however it does start to become improbable towards the end... But a lack of complete realism never killed a move for me.
  17. AllanJ
    Mar 29, 2010
    10
    This movie was awesome!!! Based on true revenge, what happens when you pick the wrong person's life to ruin. I can't believe critics booed this movie it's one of the best this year!!!! Trust me, watch this movie if you like action.
  18. joeb.
    Apr 3, 2010
    9
    Gripping. A movie all law students should watch before becoming lawyers, even if it is unrealistic. This is what I would do to someone if they murdered my family.
  19. J.
    Oct 16, 2009
    8
    I agree with Lorenzo. The way Metacritic interprets scores (especially when a score is not given) is imperfect at best and arbitrary at worst. I would suggest reading the reviews instead of judging based on scores alone. As for the movie, it's a fun revenge flick. It's not supposed to have deep insights into our society. Instead, it is a revenge story based around something that I agree with Lorenzo. The way Metacritic interprets scores (especially when a score is not given) is imperfect at best and arbitrary at worst. I would suggest reading the reviews instead of judging based on scores alone. As for the movie, it's a fun revenge flick. It's not supposed to have deep insights into our society. Instead, it is a revenge story based around something that can be seen as a flaw in our justice system. You aren't supposed to be blown away by it's depth anymore than you are supposed to look for the meaning of life in the Deathwish movies. Anyone who doesn't get that should learn to lighten up before watching movies. Expand
  20. BenS
    Oct 16, 2009
    10
    Please do not listen to the critics! Law Abiding Citizen is a good movie with great actors and a powerful message. Just because critics are too dense to see it, doesn't mean this movie does not make a powerful comment on the injustices that occur in our "justice system", while also making a comment on personal motivations. A must see!
  21. LorenzoL.
    Oct 16, 2009
    10
    This movie is just as good as the self-righteous trailers led you to believe it would be. I honestly don't understand why it's rated so low by these credits, actually I don't understand how Metacritic calculates such a low score from reviews that don't have number values. In any case the acting is superb, the plot is great and there are even some *unexpected* plot This movie is just as good as the self-righteous trailers led you to believe it would be. I honestly don't understand why it's rated so low by these credits, actually I don't understand how Metacritic calculates such a low score from reviews that don't have number values. In any case the acting is superb, the plot is great and there are even some *unexpected* plot twists. Take a chance on watching this, you'll love it. Expand
  22. SaniquaS
    Apr 10, 2010
    10
    this movie was extremely great! I think critics dont like it because it proves a point on our so called justice system!
  23. LHarris
    Apr 11, 2010
    10
    I liked this movie. I think it was awesome and I'm a 50 yr old woman. It doesn't matter if it may seem somewhat unrealistic; it's just a movie for pete's sake.
  24. Oct 19, 2010
    7
    This film is a good all-rounder and kept me intrigued until the end, it always amazes me how critics can score things so badly and one describing it as saw with a conscience could do with getting another job.

    The Ending is a let down I think its a pretty atypical Hollywood ending which they had to do otherwise it would be portraying the wrong message. That said the whole film is very
    This film is a good all-rounder and kept me intrigued until the end, it always amazes me how critics can score things so badly and one describing it as saw with a conscience could do with getting another job.

    The Ending is a let down I think its a pretty atypical Hollywood ending which they had to do otherwise it would be portraying the wrong message.

    That said the whole film is very interesting and enjoyable all the way through with solid acting from all involved, Overall an enjoyable film experience and worth a watch
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  25. Apr 10, 2011
    8
    Law Abiding Citizen points out an imperfect justice system. In seemingly obvious cases of murder a judge might not care enough about justice and only obeys the law so as a killer can go free if there is a lack of physical evidence; lawyers might make deals with criminals just to put an easy end to a case; and if it gets really bad for those who work for this system they might try to find aLaw Abiding Citizen points out an imperfect justice system. In seemingly obvious cases of murder a judge might not care enough about justice and only obeys the law so as a killer can go free if there is a lack of physical evidence; lawyers might make deals with criminals just to put an easy end to a case; and if it gets really bad for those who work for this system they might try to find a way of how to take away the constitutional given civil rights of the person they feel threatened by. A very smart movie that gives you some food for thought about how law and justice might not always be the same. The first half of the movie is quite brutal and likely hard to watch for many viewers. The second half offers some surprise. Definitely worth watching. Expand
  26. Aug 21, 2015
    10
    Three words: critics are idiots. This film is incredibly well-made with top-notch acting and a nail-biting plot. See this film and you will not regret it.
  27. N1Acord03
    Oct 19, 2009
    10
    This movie by all accounts is the movie of the year. I am flabbergasted at the critique's take on this film. What movie did they see?
  28. LindaC.
    Jan 4, 2010
    7
    The ingenuity and complexity of suspense in this film is refreshing, as is equally the plot. It has been a long time since a first-class, nail biting, on the edge of your seat, intelligent macabre suspense story and film on the scale of Silence of the Lambs and Se7en was made. Law Abiding Citizen came close in plot and suspense, but missed the boat. Kudos to F. Gary Gray for a good The ingenuity and complexity of suspense in this film is refreshing, as is equally the plot. It has been a long time since a first-class, nail biting, on the edge of your seat, intelligent macabre suspense story and film on the scale of Silence of the Lambs and Se7en was made. Law Abiding Citizen came close in plot and suspense, but missed the boat. Kudos to F. Gary Gray for a good attempt. BUT, unlike Silence of the Lambs and Se7en, Law Abiding Citizen will likely not even garner one industry nomination, let alone a win. Too bad F. Gary Gray, screenwriter Kurt Wimmer and the host of producers decidedly chose the easy route to opt to make a low-budget almost-but-not-quite-good [hopefully] money maker rather than work smarter not harder to create a low-budget classic-award-winning film. Such a wasted opportunity. The film plot has extraordinary potential. The film instead is glued together with ridiculous amateur scenes [like the prosecutor publically shaking hands with the convicted accomplice in the slaying of a mother and her child] and injected with simplified unintriguing cliché dialogue [like, Expand
  29. KylerC.
    Feb 18, 2010
    7
    Although not the greatest film ever made, it has quite a startling beginning that keeps you enthralled for atleast 30 minutes. When Gerard Butler gets sent to jail is where things begin getting iffy, and the second half of the movie is not as well put together as the first. For example, you find out that Butler's character was some kind of operative agent, but this seems to be putty Although not the greatest film ever made, it has quite a startling beginning that keeps you enthralled for atleast 30 minutes. When Gerard Butler gets sent to jail is where things begin getting iffy, and the second half of the movie is not as well put together as the first. For example, you find out that Butler's character was some kind of operative agent, but this seems to be putty in a plot hole to explain why he is so good at what he is doing. The final twist is intriguing, but you won't be enthralled by it. Overall a decent movie, I would suggest renting it for some mild entertainment! Expand
  30. Chris
    Feb 24, 2010
    10
    One of the best movies I've seen in a while. Intense, brutal, violent...yet at the same time, an intelligent look at the shortcomings of our criminal justice system here in the US.
  31. Bill
    Feb 25, 2010
    9
    The movie really shows a man (Shelton), whom in the beginning could be any man loosing everything dear to him. Unformatunatly for the crims, he was just the wrong badass to mess with. Overall, I could relate quite well to how he went about his revenge, as you can only imagine what he witnessed in the brutal slaying of his wife and daughter. Shelton had the money to back his plot and kept The movie really shows a man (Shelton), whom in the beginning could be any man loosing everything dear to him. Unformatunatly for the crims, he was just the wrong badass to mess with. Overall, I could relate quite well to how he went about his revenge, as you can only imagine what he witnessed in the brutal slaying of his wife and daughter. Shelton had the money to back his plot and kept ti himself, so when you stop and consider what you couldl do in that position, i get a sence of reality. Too many critics compared this movie to other movies (SAW) in particular, which in my opinion shows that critics need to step up their game and look at a movie for what it is, what it offers and what it means, instead of being a puppet and following the next critics comments into their own views. Expand
  32. HilleryE
    Mar 24, 2010
    9
    This movie was a mixter of Death Sentence and Saw. Definitely not what I'm used to seeing from Gerard Butler, but he was amazing as usual.
  33. ChrisK
    Apr 6, 2010
    10
    Excellent movie showing government corruption. The ending isn't perfect but still I give this a 10/10.
  34. markg.
    Jun 9, 2010
    8
    Because it's better than Seven! heh heh. Slightly weak 3rd act though.
  35. NervC.
    Oct 16, 2009
    8
    I had no idea what I was walking into. The beginning was entirely predictable and I thought, "Gee, if he's exacted his revenge this quickly, this is gonna be a really short film." Of course, the beginning is only the tip of the iceberg. It makes Philadelphia as scary a place to live as Gotham under the Joker. I enjoyed it a lot despite being a little over the top.
  36. S.CW
    Oct 16, 2009
    9
    Great acting, surprising plot twists, and just the right amount of violence to keep the movie interesting. I strongly disagree with the general poor reviews for this movie. This movie really did keep me at the edge of my seat, wondering what would happen next. Sure, it had a couple of minor plot issues here and there, but all in all I found it to be a highly entertaining movie well worth Great acting, surprising plot twists, and just the right amount of violence to keep the movie interesting. I strongly disagree with the general poor reviews for this movie. This movie really did keep me at the edge of my seat, wondering what would happen next. Sure, it had a couple of minor plot issues here and there, but all in all I found it to be a highly entertaining movie well worth the time and ticket to see it. Expand
  37. NeikoA.
    Oct 18, 2009
    10
    Great story with good plot and a theme that can be correlated to real life. Phenomenal performance by Gerard Butler.
  38. SekuG.
    Oct 18, 2009
    8
    Gerard Butler plays an insanely intelligent assassin focused on biblical scale of retribution. Teaching his deadly lessons, bringing the city of Philadelphia face to face with its past deeds and dealings.
  39. IsaacB.
    Oct 23, 2009
    10
    "Just finished watching it. This is the kind of testosterone festival that makes troglodytes cry "YEAH!" Synopsis: Stock characters follow predictable plot devices and present the fantasy of limitless financial resources as "cunning intellect"." Said some dumb bitch with sand in her vagina. Gerard Butler rules, and I haven't even seen this movie but it rules because it has the 300 "Just finished watching it. This is the kind of testosterone festival that makes troglodytes cry "YEAH!" Synopsis: Stock characters follow predictable plot devices and present the fantasy of limitless financial resources as "cunning intellect"." Said some dumb bitch with sand in her vagina. Gerard Butler rules, and I haven't even seen this movie but it rules because it has the 300 guy. YEAH! Expand
  40. StephenNew
    Jan 19, 2010
    10
    Totally awesome movie, no doubt one of the best thrillers ive seen in a while. Thumbs up for me.
  41. cesarp
    Feb 21, 2010
    8
    Great movie and I liked Butler's acting. Really violent the only problem for me was the ending.
  42. RyanM.
    Feb 24, 2010
    7
    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.
  43. NikoG
    Mar 22, 2010
    8
    Complexity is the first word. Awesome is the second. I just with people would stop comparing it to SAW for pete's sake! There's one torture scene that he films. THATS IT. This isn't "saw with a concience" or some bull. This is a story of a man who had everything taken from him, and wants what's broken to be fixed; not so much for him but for the world as a whole. Complexity is the first word. Awesome is the second. I just with people would stop comparing it to SAW for pete's sake! There's one torture scene that he films. THATS IT. This isn't "saw with a concience" or some bull. This is a story of a man who had everything taken from him, and wants what's broken to be fixed; not so much for him but for the world as a whole. During points in the film he uproots the bullcrap that lets criminals walk free. Gray keeps the audience guessing until the last 20-30 minutes of the film, where it all falls into a beautiful cataclycism of events leading into the ending. The characters are solid, the storyline is not exactly unique but the presentation and way it all unfolds is wonderful. Butler delivers. Simple as that. Expand
  44. ArvinM.
    Oct 16, 2009
    10
    Yeah!
  45. ColinB.
    Oct 17, 2009
    8
    Sweet movie. Great plot. I was in to it.
  46. VeronicaM
    Oct 19, 2009
    9
    Gets a 9 because it's a little too long.
  47. BA
    Oct 27, 2009
    7
    It's emotionally intriguing and it's definitely entertaining- in retrospect a little ridiculous, but so what. The critics that ranked it in the lower 40% took this movie as a mid-level studio film to stomp on and get their elite intellectual film critic snob on, cuz it just ain't that bad.
  48. TracyH.
    Nov 17, 2009
    10
    This movie stirred me and made me wonder how I would feel not only in Clyde's shoes, but Nick's as well?
  49. paul
    Nov 27, 2009
    10
    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.
  50. JDavies
    Dec 17, 2009
    10
    Not sure why critics disapprove so much, I thought it was awesome. User reviews for the win.
  51. LynneM.
    Dec 23, 2009
    10
    An amazing performance by Butler. I was on the edge of my seat from beginning to end. Foxx and Butler had great chemistry.
  52. Aug 11, 2010
    7
    Picture it you have a beautiful wife a loving and sweet daughter a great job that you love and every night you come home to your family knowing there will be a great dinner waiting for you so you can sit around the table and just share some quality time with the ones you love. It is essentially the American dream; the dream that all want and most get but what if one day that dream wasPicture it you have a beautiful wife a loving and sweet daughter a great job that you love and every night you come home to your family knowing there will be a great dinner waiting for you so you can sit around the table and just share some quality time with the ones you love. It is essentially the American dream; the dream that all want and most get but what if one day that dream was taken away from you? What if some crooks from off the street broke into your home rob you and murdered the ones you love Now say that the police were able to find and capture the men who murdered your family there are about to be prosecuted for the heinous crime they have committed. The Executive A.D.A( Executive Assistant District Attorney) cuts a deal with one of the murders meaning one spends five years in jail and is free while the other is sent to death row. There is one person who shares this horrifying story and that person is Clyde Shelton (Gerard Butler). Two thugs looking to loot the place but instead one of them decided to take it a little further and rape and murder both his wife and daughter murdered his family. After one man is un-officially set free by a slick Executive A.D.A. and the other on death row Sheldon plots his revenge against all who have wronged him. The men who destroyed his life and the Justice system that let one of them get away. F. Gary Gray and Kurt Wimmer's "Law Abiding Citizen" is one of those films that came out last year slipped under the radar for me I had heard things about it albeit nothing good. Most critics and audiences members turned there backs on "Law Abiding Citizen" in favor of worse movies. However, compared to other movies that came out around the same time, as Law Abiding Citizenâ Expand
Metascore
34

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 26
  2. Negative: 12 out of 26
  1. 30
    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.
  2. Clyde is meant to be nuts, but too often it's Law Abiding Citizen that checks rationality at the door.
  3. A vigilante/torture-porn potpourri, is particularly toxic because it's scented with phony importance.