Law Abiding Citizen

Metascore
34

Generally unfavorable reviews - based on 26 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 251 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Clyde Shelton is an upstanding family man whose wife and daughter are brutally murdered during a home invasion. When the killers are caught, Nick Rice, a hotshot young Philadelphia prosecutor, is assigned to the case. Over his objections, Nick is forced by his boss to offer one of theClyde Shelton is an upstanding family man whose wife and daughter are brutally murdered during a home invasion. When the killers are caught, Nick Rice, a hotshot young Philadelphia prosecutor, is assigned to the case. Over his objections, Nick is forced by his boss to offer one of the suspects a light sentence in exchange for testifying against his accomplice. Fast forward ten years. The man who got away with murder is found dead and Clyde Shelton coolly admits his guilt. Then he issues a warning to Nick: Either fix the flawed justice system that failed his family, or key players in the trial will die. Soon Shelton follows through on his threats, orchestrating from his jail cell a string of spectacularly diabolical assassinations that can be neither predicted nor prevented. Philadelphia is gripped with fear as Shelton's high-profile targets are slain one after another and the authorities are powerless to halt his reign of terror. Only Nick can stop the killing, and to do so he must outwit this brilliant sociopath in a harrowing contest of wills in which even the smallest misstep means death. With his own family now in Shelton's crosshairs, Nick finds himself in a desperate race against time facing a deadly adversary who seems always to be one step ahead. (Overture Films) Expand
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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 26
  2. Negative: 12 out of 26
  1. 75
    One of those movies you like more at the time than in retrospect.
  2. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    60
    True torture-porn aficionados will be disappointed, as editor Tariq Anwar cuts away right before blade meets flesh -- a move that feels a tad, well, gutless under the circumstances. But elsewhere, "Citizen" proves startlingly graphic, even by R-rated standards.
  3. 50
    The biggest problem with Law Abiding Citizen, however, is that the plot is just plain dumb.
  4. Reviewed by: Angie Errigo
    40
    Relentlessly ugly, preposterous and hackneyed of dialogue: guilty on all counts. It will do well, then.
  5. Reviewed by: Dan Kois
    30
    A movie devoted to baroque revenge would be, on its own terms, acceptable; what makes Law Abiding Citizen so risible is its humorless conviction that it's got Big Ideas at its core.
  6. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    30
    Butler has the showier part, but his impersonation of the tragic hero is undercut by his weird resemblance to Soupy Sales. You start hoping that Shelton will kill somebody with a custard (or puffer-fish) pie to the face.
  7. 25
    At last, the missing link be tween "Phantom of the Opera" and "Saw." Welcome to the gonzo revenge saga Law Abiding Citizen.

See all 26 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 52 out of 95
  2. Negative: 21 out of 95
  1. 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
    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
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  2. JDavies
    Dec 17, 2009
    10
    Not sure why critics disapprove so much, I thought it was awesome. User reviews for the win.
  3. 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 veryI 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
  4. 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 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. Expand
  5. DougG.
    Oct 23, 2009
    5
    Some shocking moments, but the movie is very flawed and the ending is horrible.
  6. 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 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
  7. RichardW.
    Oct 16, 2009
    0
    Yuch. What were a fine group actors thinking? Paycheck, maybe?

See all 95 User Reviews

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