Law Abiding Citizen

User Score
7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 251 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 38 out of 251
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  1. DanielS.
    May 6, 2010
    0
    Awesome movie...but the ending RUINS IT.
  2. DylanB.
    Feb 20, 2010
    0
    This would be one of the greatest movies in the world if only they didnt fuck up the ending the way they did. I almost threw my pc out the door when i saw it end. if you must watch the movie turn if off when there is only 20 minutes left. truly truly disappointing
  3. Oct 3, 2010
    4
    Law Abiding Citizen has a very strong beginning. I found myself caring for "Clyde" (Gerrard Butler) and wanting to see how he would change the American justice system. The scene where Clyde is in court and argues with the judge is a great example of this - he uses the system itself to prove his argument, and shows that the law needs to be changed for true justice to be served.

    Then the
    Law Abiding Citizen has a very strong beginning. I found myself caring for "Clyde" (Gerrard Butler) and wanting to see how he would change the American justice system. The scene where Clyde is in court and argues with the judge is a great example of this - he uses the system itself to prove his argument, and shows that the law needs to be changed for true justice to be served.

    Then the second half of the movie comes along, and Clyde's character shifts from an intelligent citizen to a complete psychopath. All that was clever about this film turns into a mindless bloody mess. By the end I was left wondering what had happened.
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  4. PriscillaG.
    Oct 19, 2009
    1
    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".
  5. DougG.
    Oct 23, 2009
    5
    Some shocking moments, but the movie is very flawed and the ending is horrible.
  6. Jan 6, 2012
    4
    Law Abiding Citizen plays with some interesting themes and issues but it doesn't seem to have a clue what it wants to say. Is the justice system corrupt? Is serious reform needed? Are Clyde's (Gerard Butler) actions justified? The film never gets close to answering these questions as it fumbles from act to act. It's a shame really because the performances aren't bad, Butler plays light andLaw Abiding Citizen plays with some interesting themes and issues but it doesn't seem to have a clue what it wants to say. Is the justice system corrupt? Is serious reform needed? Are Clyde's (Gerard Butler) actions justified? The film never gets close to answering these questions as it fumbles from act to act. It's a shame really because the performances aren't bad, Butler plays light and dark well with Jamie Foxx actually being a perfect foil for him as the straight laced realist. They play well off each other and dialogue wise, the script is pretty good so some scenes are thoroughly entertaining at least aesthetically. The problem is that the final product is so remarkably empty you can't look back on the things you like and leave the viewing with a positive reaction. It's a film trying to make some kind of a point but all you really get is a dark, gritty thriller that is void of substance. It doesn't help that the last 40 minutes move the film from gritty, character drama to cliche filled farce with a final twist so remarkably stupid it just ruins it further. Expand
  7. Jul 15, 2012
    3
    Clyde (Gerard Butler) had a reason to kill the people who killed his family: REVENGE but why was he killing Police and FBI agents just to make Nick Rice (Jamie Foxx) mad? They didn't do much to Clyde and already got his revenge which was enough. And you know what would of been a better ending? Clyde could of committed suicide and admitted his reason.
  8. Feb 19, 2012
    2
    This movie disgusts me, if I am being honest. The violence was without meaning, and it seemed spliced in for the sake of satisfying a bloodthirsty crowd. It has its enjoyable moments, and for that I give it a 2, but it is recycled garbage.
  9. sLm
    Oct 14, 2012
    3
    Meeeeeeeh... It started very, very good, at first revenge was justified, but then it just became into a non-sense murdering. At the end of the film, all I wanted was the "bad" guy to win at least, not the moron lawyer, but neither that happened. It was totally anticlimactic... Seriously, if you want a good version for this movie, watch "V for Vendetta" and stay away from this.
  10. 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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  11. JohnG
    Mar 1, 2010
    5
    This movie started out great with an interesting premise and the promise that justice was going to prevail and the bad guys were going to get their just desserts. However, as the movie progressed, the good guy most deserving of getting his revenge went way over the top, morphing from a greiving father and husband into the killer-clown from "Saw". At the same time the plot morphed from This movie started out great with an interesting premise and the promise that justice was going to prevail and the bad guys were going to get their just desserts. However, as the movie progressed, the good guy most deserving of getting his revenge went way over the top, morphing from a greiving father and husband into the killer-clown from "Saw". At the same time the plot morphed from being mostly believable to totally preposterous. By the time of the movies climax, I had pretty much lost interest and felt cheated out of a movie that could have and should have been much better. Expand
  12. ChadS.
    Oct 20, 2009
    4
    Among things most moviegoers don't want to see, a small girl being murdered during a home invasion would surely be close to topping the list, especially if the child makes bracelets that spell out "daddy" for her proud papa. Since "Law Abiding Citizen" turns out to be "Clyde: Portrait of a Serial Killer(or "Clean Shaven Death Wish), in which the daddy-turned-vigilante(played by Among things most moviegoers don't want to see, a small girl being murdered during a home invasion would surely be close to topping the list, especially if the child makes bracelets that spell out "daddy" for her proud papa. Since "Law Abiding Citizen" turns out to be "Clyde: Portrait of a Serial Killer(or "Clean Shaven Death Wish), in which the daddy-turned-vigilante(played by Gerald Butler) starts killing, not NYC lowlifes like a Scottish Charles Bronson, but innocent people, ala Henry(Michael Rooker) in the 1989 John McNaughton film, brutality needs to match brutality, because the cause and effect of the carnage needs to be better proportioned. Our reaction to a decollated head, or a woman in car being blown up to smithereens, is more visceral, and far outweighs an abstract murder that took place beyond the fade-out, when it comes to impacting the audience, who needs to sympathize with Clyde's loss during his self-righteous killing spree. Not nearly enough time is spent on establishing Clyde as a husband and father. The filmmaker cuts to the chase, mere minutes into "Law Abiding Citizen", so, impassioned speech with his lawyer Nick(Jamie Foxx) about justice notwithstanding, the film largely pre-supposes Clyde's family man integrity as a given. In most cases, flashbacks often do nothing for a film, except oversell the protagonist's loss with affected sentimentality, in a scene that depicts happier times, where the grieving spouse gets all red-eyed after waking up from a reverie. This time around, it would help "Law Abiding Citizen", if Clyde displayed some sign of humanity, since the fallout from his vengeance is so distortedly pronounced, the film's message about a broken judicial system gets lost in the arterial spray. Expand
  13. ChadC.
    Jun 17, 2010
    1
    This movie had potential. It kept me interested up until they revealed the how he managed to rig and terrorize people. It immediately dropped from possibly being a 7 or an 8 to a firm 1.
  14. ChrisVD
    Dec 10, 2009
    1
    Totally unengaging and ridiculous flic. Manages to be repulsive AND boring at the same time. Quite unique actually, if you put it like that. Still, don't go and see, believe me. It's for your own good.
  15. JoJ.
    Oct 26, 2009
    0
    Can you say "ridiculously impossible" ? So unrealistic as to be cartoonish! Please! I love the critic who said "Saw with a conscience"!! How stupid do we moviegoers seem??! I'm insulted by this movie. The premise was realistic. They could have done great things with it. Too bad.
  16. RichardW.
    Oct 16, 2009
    0
    Yuch. What were a fine group actors thinking? Paycheck, maybe?
  17. Jun 24, 2013
    3
    This is what happens when the dig through John Grisham's garbage. It has a lot of inaccuracies with the federal law of the state of Philadelphia. Both Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler are miscast and don't provide energy in their roles. Their characters are poorly developed and the other characters don't have much focus, and on some occasions stupid And the ending is a big 180 to a decent resolution.
  18. Jan 26, 2012
    0
    bad writing, bad acting, bad everything. Gerard Butler should never try to pull off another American accent again...awful, just awful. Ridiculos premise, but lots of stuff blows up so it likely kept American audiences happy. When foreigners put down Americans for their cinematic stupidity, this movie is Exhibit A.
  19. Jun 15, 2012
    4
    Law Abiding Citizen has decent performances from its two leads Jamie Foxx, playing a dedicated prosecution lawyer and Gerard Butler as a man cheated by flawed American justice system who takes the law into his own hands as a murderous vigilante. It's technically competent throughout and with the addition of a serviceable script the film should be an intelligent and memorable thrillerLaw Abiding Citizen has decent performances from its two leads Jamie Foxx, playing a dedicated prosecution lawyer and Gerard Butler as a man cheated by flawed American justice system who takes the law into his own hands as a murderous vigilante. It's technically competent throughout and with the addition of a serviceable script the film should be an intelligent and memorable thriller providing an insightful critique on law and morality. Somehow though, Law Abiding CItizen never rises above mediocrity, and is a largely forgettable affair. After an exciting initial setup, the narrative plods and becomes utterly ridiculous towards the final act, which is so over-the-top it wouldn't look out of place in a 70s disaster movie. Characterisation is also inconsistent, with Foxx's heavily moralistic and by-the-book lawyer conveniently able to bypass his long-held convictions when it suits the story. In addition, though he makes a decent enough anti-hero throughout, Butler does occasionally slip back into his natural Scottish dialect during the more intense and demanding scenes. Law Abiding Citizen only just manages to stay afloat thanks to director F. Gary Gray's craftsmenship and the talent of the lead performers. It falls utterly flat in other areas, however, because of misjudgements of tone, uneven pacing and a critical lack of commitment to the big ideas behind the film. The film is passable, but nothing more. Expand
  20. Feb 2, 2013
    4
    The potential was there and the movie definently had it's moment but overall, It not only failed to draw you in but the poor dialogue and acting by the cast (aside from Butler who was the only good one imo) sort of ruined it imo.
  21. Jan 20, 2013
    6
    After years of intending to watch this film finally did I get a chance to. After all the hype given to me by friends and family this film was a bit disappointing. I guess if you're a logical thinker, or an analyzer of movies you can see through the plot fairly easily. The ending was also rather troublesome, even though it had the potential to be great.
  22. 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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  23. 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
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. Dec 23, 2013
    4
    Movie started out very disturbingly. What a strong start for a thriller? Well, it was, yeah. Though, at some point it started to become a bad movie. The way it started to focus on just violence and nothing else was just nothing i was hoping from the story. This movie could have been done better.
  27. 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
  28. Dec 19, 2011
    2
    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.
  29. Nov 2, 2011
    2
    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.
  30. TimH
    Mar 1, 2010
    0
    A Horible Movie that shys away at the good parts, and during its "revelations" in the plot was found to be HILARIOUS. Not what they were going for I think. I wasted 2 hours of my life watching this crap and I hope there aren't many others as unfortunate as me.
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. Reviewed by: Robert Wilonsky
    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.