User Score
6.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 210 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 36 out of 210

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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Sep 12, 2010
    2
    This movie is what I imagine getting a colonoscopy is like. The acting was what you would expect from a middle school play, not a multi million dollar feature film. I would not recommend this to anyone.
  4. Nov 24, 2010
    3
    A poor man's "Seven." Gerard Butler is so unappealing on screen, but combined with the personality-less Jamie Foxx, it doesn't matter how on-edge some of the scenes are. It still comes across like a B movie.
  5. 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.
  6. 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
    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. Expand
  7. Nov 24, 2011
    5
    What started off so interesting ends so poorly. The acting is fine (I didnt really like Jamie Fox as the lead, Thought he was a poor fit) and the action was good. The story is so generic though that it just takes away from the overall value.
  8. 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 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
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  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. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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 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
  16. 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 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
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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
    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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  20. 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
  21. 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
    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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  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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 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
  25. 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
    interesting and enjoyable all the way through with solid acting from all involved, Overall an enjoyable film experience and worth a watch Expand
  26. 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, 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
  27. 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 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
  28. 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 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. Collapse
  29. Jun 12, 2011
    6
    This movie was actually kind of fun. Is it a cliche oh heck yeah. But it does have some pretty inventive ways of killing off some people and some of the ways the villain is able to do the things that he does. The acting is also very solid with the exception of a certain mayor. Overall this is worth a watch.
  30. 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.
  31. Apr 20, 2014
    5
    I liked the actors. I liked the general plot, even if the ending was kinda dumb. Could have done without the gore sections. It was an alright movie to watch, but I don't think I'd bother to watch it again.
  32. Jan 30, 2013
    3
    Una lástima el final, termina significando q la corrupción de la justicia al final gana. Como un juez puede decir hago lo q quiero? que se creen? dioses? no creo q con la muerte, pero un cambio de sangre dentro de ese poder miserable es necesario. Uno tiene q pasar por un asesinato y después por la ley y ver lo sucia q es y como todo se compra, y como las vidas no valen nada, para poder ver q en esta película el principio es perfecto, tal cual como debería ser. El final desastroso. Solo lo liberan de la tristeza que es perder seres amados de la manera más violenta, sin q a nadie le importe. Solo somos un número.

    Too bad the end, meaning q corruption ends of justice at the end wins. As a judge I can say what I q? to be created? gods? q I do not believe in the death, but a change of blood within that wretched power needed. Q One has to go through a murder and then by the law and see how dirty and q is as everything is bought, and how lives are worthless, q to see this movie in the beginning is perfect, as it should be. The disastrous end. Only the release of the sorrow of losing loved ones in the most violent, no one cares qa. We're just a number.
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  33. 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.
  34. 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
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.