User Score
6.9

Generally favorable reviews- based on 239 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 38 out of 239
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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. Collapse
  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.
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. BenB
    Oct 20, 2009
    3
    By all accounts this is something that started out as a great idea in someones head which ended up being an absolute failure by the time someone tried to turn it into a 90 minute feature film. The decides to rather than create a character that's extraordinary yet still believable, to create a character that defies all belief and as such, create a series of scenarios that leaves the By all accounts this is something that started out as a great idea in someones head which ended up being an absolute failure by the time someone tried to turn it into a 90 minute feature film. The decides to rather than create a character that's extraordinary yet still believable, to create a character that defies all belief and as such, create a series of scenarios that leaves the audience frustrated with being force fed hole filled plots, rather than leaving them impressed at the main characters ingenuity. Jamie Foxx also delivers an extremely dry performance. With no characters to love or to hate, and no plot to entertain, you will just want this movie to end so you can go home and watch paint dry. Expand
  36. DQS
    Mar 11, 2010
    1
    Horrible, horrible, horrible. Crap piece of hack work made for the money. The message of this film is that in the end Law is worthless. Do you believe that? Do the people who made this crap believe it? No, it's simply a cool way to show off special effects. Sad.
  37. WangD.
    Apr 11, 2010
    5
    the ideas are appealing sort of a "dark night" destination but the deliverance is very flawed
  38. TBone
    Oct 17, 2009
    4
    Great movie, terrible ending.
  39. 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
  40. 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
  41. 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
  42. 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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  43. 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.
  44. 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
  45. 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!
  46. 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.
  47. 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.
  48. 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.
  49. 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
  50. 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!
  51. 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
  52. kgm.
    Oct 26, 2009
    2
    The first 10-15 minutes are interesting and engaging but unlike
  53. 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!
  54. 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.
  55. 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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  56. 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
  57. 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.
  58. 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.
  59. TDKinDallas
    Nov 7, 2009
    5
    I really enjoyed this movie, until the end. The ending was horrible. I forgave some of the non-story telling in the beginning with the obligatory plot fill-ins during the movie, but come on. **SPOILER ALERT** This isn't a movie ruining spoiler, but how does he not notice that someone has broken into his lair? There is a lot more to complain about and I don't want to ruin I really enjoyed this movie, until the end. The ending was horrible. I forgave some of the non-story telling in the beginning with the obligatory plot fill-ins during the movie, but come on. **SPOILER ALERT** This isn't a movie ruining spoiler, but how does he not notice that someone has broken into his lair? There is a lot more to complain about and I don't want to ruin anymore, but I say it again, come on! Expand
  60. 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?
  61. ClaytonD
    Oct 21, 2009
    6
    Violent, crazy movie that made its point over and over again... Jamei Foxx looked almost bored through it and his daughter was a terrible cello player (no bow control, bad fingerings, etc.).
  62. gfisher
    Jan 26, 2010
    5
    N1Acord03, if the critics don't like the movie then it is NOT "by all accounts" movie of the year. "By all accounts" means everyone who gave an account of the movie. It's definitely not movie of the year but, unfortunately, I've seen worse.
  63. 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
  64. 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
  65. 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.
  66. 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
  67. 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.
  68. ChrisK
    Apr 6, 2010
    10
    Excellent movie showing government corruption. The ending isn't perfect but still I give this a 10/10.
  69. AlanO.
    Jun 17, 2010
    4
    The film was good in the first half, but towards the end the film started getting really mediocre. The ending was the opposite of the the beginning of the film. This film wasn't awful, it was just the opposite of a decent film.
  70. markg.
    Jun 9, 2010
    8
    Because it's better than Seven! heh heh. Slightly weak 3rd act though.
  71. 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.
  72. 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
  73. 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.
  74. 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.
  75. 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
  76. StephenNew
    Jan 19, 2010
    10
    Totally awesome movie, no doubt one of the best thrillers ive seen in a while. Thumbs up for me.
  77. cesarp
    Feb 21, 2010
    8
    Great movie and I liked Butler's acting. Really violent the only problem for me was the ending.
  78. 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.
  79. JamesH
    Mar 12, 2010
    4
    42/100. Preposterous plot that has so many holes it resembles Swiss cheese. Over acted by the leads with unmemorable supporting performances. The score is too intense and interferes with the story. After thirty minutes you just don
  80. 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
  81. ArvinM.
    Oct 16, 2009
    10
    Yeah!
  82. JamesH.
    Oct 17, 2009
    4
    [***SPOILER***]LAC started off VERY promising but somewhere along the line the plot began forming holes that were never filled. It first painted Jamie's character to be more involved with the death of Butler's family than he turned out to be. Leaning in to talk to the murderer at the court room, shaking his hand afterwards. Idk if real lawyers actually do that. It starts with [***SPOILER***]LAC started off VERY promising but somewhere along the line the plot began forming holes that were never filled. It first painted Jamie's character to be more involved with the death of Butler's family than he turned out to be. Leaning in to talk to the murderer at the court room, shaking his hand afterwards. Idk if real lawyers actually do that. It starts with Butler being the protaganist but he quickly becomes the badguy. It wasn't the best plot or the best way for the movie to end. It was brilliant how he pulled off the murders but it definetly ended the wrong way. Butler should have been the smart, crazy, good guy. Jamie should have been the evil masteind trying to further his career. Plus 10 years to hold a grudge is a little too extreme and that was my first flag. It should have been maybe 1 yr or 2 @ the most. The movie should have also set up who Butler really was by showing pictures of his military background and then showing his family instead of just "dumping" his surprised past on us. Expand
  83. ColinB.
    Oct 17, 2009
    8
    Sweet movie. Great plot. I was in to it.
  84. VeronicaM
    Oct 19, 2009
    9
    Gets a 9 because it's a little too long.
  85. 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.
  86. 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?
  87. 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.
  88. JDavies
    Dec 17, 2009
    10
    Not sure why critics disapprove so much, I thought it was awesome. User reviews for the win.
  89. 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.
  90. 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
  91. 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.
  92. 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 noUna 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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  93. Feb 7, 2015
    6
    I had really high expectations for Law Abiding Citizen after watching the first scene. It really started out strong and made me excited for what would happen next, but then it gets too ahead of itself. The first 40 minutes of the movie are the best and then the last hour sort of drags on. I enjoyed Jamie Foxx's role but I don't understand why he is so involved in the story when he is aI had really high expectations for Law Abiding Citizen after watching the first scene. It really started out strong and made me excited for what would happen next, but then it gets too ahead of itself. The first 40 minutes of the movie are the best and then the last hour sort of drags on. I enjoyed Jamie Foxx's role but I don't understand why he is so involved in the story when he is a lawyer. He shouldn't have anything to do with most of the events in the movie. I understand he is there in order to make the movie more intense but it sacrifices realism. He should have been a cop. Then ending was sort of good but semi-predictable. I didn't think that this movie is really bad I just found a lot of things flawed with it. I'm sure many people would still enjoy the film. Just don't think too hard about it. Expand
  94. Nov 4, 2014
    6
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This movie was very interesting. Watching someone outsmart the authorities is always entertaining.

    Gerard Butler played his character perfectly. He is a great anti-hero/mastermind actor. A similar movie to Law Abiding Citizen with a lead character being a dark mastermind is Inside Man. Gerard Butler stars in it, too!

    However, i was very let down with the ending to this movie. Despite as sinister as it sounds, it would have been amazing to see Clyde's plan workout in the end. I feel it would have given a better remembrance to his name, and his motive. The tip that Nick received at the end was very disappointing; to have Clyde's plan spoiled by a tip was just sad.

    The movie is very underrated. Great plot, exceptional acting, and disappointing ending. To be fair, though, i could see many people content with the way the movie ended. Probably in my top 20 list of movies. 6/10.
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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.