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Law Abiding Citizen (2009)


Average Rating: 4.3/10
Reviews Counted: 156
Fresh: 39
Rotten: 117

Critics Consensus: Unnecessarily violent and unflinchingly absurd, Law Abiding Citizen is plagued by subpar acting and a story that defies reason.

Average Rating: 3.9/10
Reviews Counted: 29
Fresh: 3
Rotten: 26

Critics Consensus: Unnecessarily violent and unflinchingly absurd, Law Abiding Citizen is plagued by subpar acting and a story that defies reason.


Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 515,440


Movie Info

Jamie Foxx stars as an assistant DA who finds himself at the mercy of a spiteful vigilante (Gerard Butler) hell-bent on avenging the death of his wife and daughter, whose murderers are set free due to legal loopholes. F. Gary Gray (The Italian Job) directs from a script by Frank Darabont and Kurt Wimmer. ~ Jeremy Wheeler, Rovi

R (for strong bloody brutal violence and torture, a scene of rape, and pervasive language)
Mystery & Suspense , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
Kurt Wimmer
In Theaters:
Feb 16, 2010
Box Office:
Overture Films - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Law Abiding Citizen

All Critics (156) | Top Critics (29) | Fresh (39) | Rotten (117) | DVD (15)

Sadly, there's nothing here but bloody off-cuts from 'Death Wish', 'Saw' and 'The Silence of the Lambs', in roughly that order.

Full Review… | November 27, 2009
Time Out
Top Critic

As a social statement, Law Abiding Citizen is a flawed attempt at holding the legal system accountable for its shortcomings. As a movie, it's a ridiculous execution of a misguided concept.

Full Review… | October 21, 2009
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

A preposterous exercise in high-minded brutality, "Law Abiding Citizen" tries to pass itself off as a dialectic on justice betrayed, but instead plays like a snuff film with our nation's legal system as the victim.

Full Review… | October 16, 2009
Washington Post
Top Critic

Sure, it's outta place for October, but there's no reason you can't enjoy a mindless piece of candy against the backdrop of fall foliage.

Full Review… | October 16, 2009
Top Critic

Law Abiding Citizen is such a lazy action-drama underachiever, it seems unfair to target stars Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler for bringing their C game.

Full Review… | October 16, 2009
New York Daily News
Top Critic

Say what you will about Death Wish, but Charles Bronson was never boring.

Full Review… | October 16, 2009
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Law Abiding Citizen may be the most nihilistic movie I've ever seen.

Full Review… | March 29, 2011

It's exactly the kind of film the phrase 'by-the-numbers' was invented for, but like the best genre films, it acknowledges its niche and goes all out to top its predecessors.

Full Review… | October 21, 2010

One of the more repugnant examples of Hollywood's cheap-thrill approach to violence, its voyeuristic brutality is matched only by its innate stupidity.

Full Review… | August 9, 2010

The film can't seem to make up its mind whether it wants to be an audience pleasing popcorn treat or a serious, political thriller. It ends up being partly both... with varying degrees of success.

Full Review… | April 15, 2010
Fan The Fire

Putting aside the ideological posturing, this hyper-violent fantasy about a seemingly unstoppable killer who continues his murder spree behind bars delivers on its promise of an intriguing mystery, however far-fetched.

Full Review… | February 16, 2010
San Francisco Examiner

While one man's terrorist may be another's freedom fighter, it's not quite as simple when it comes to CIA operatives and your basic serial killer. Or rather, a CIA psycho family man that might make Jack The Ripper envious.

Full Review… | February 5, 2010

The diverting garbage that is Law Abiding Citizen would be more deplorable if it were possible to take this wholly implausible film seriously.

Full Review… | January 31, 2010
Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema

For large portions of Law Abiding Citizen we're not sure who is going to be the winner here, nor who we want to be, and though it won't make for much of a date flick, as far as intelligent action flicks go, it gets two big burly thumbs up.

Full Review… | January 30, 2010

While Law Abiding Citizen is in no sense a successful work of art, a film that offers the illicit thrill of cheering on an all-American terrorist is at least pursuing something more complex than ''moral clarity''.

Full Review… | January 28, 2010
The Age (Australia)

A high-octane, high body-count thriller posing the question, how do you stop a psycho vigilante on a killing spree? Apparently, by any means necessary."

Full Review… | January 28, 2010

Bloodshed and torture abound in this sadistic thriller with pretensions.

Full Review… | January 26, 2010
Sydney Morning Herald

An entertaining thrill ride but not much more.

Full Review… | January 26, 2010
FILMINK (Australia)

In another time and place, Law Abiding Citizen could have been an intelligent critique of a flawed criminal justice system. Instead, I present you Gerard Butler, ruthlessly hacking a guy into 25 little pieces.

Full Review… | January 22, 2010

The screenplay mashes up its elements and develops as a hairbrained plot without enough character substanc

Full Review… | January 21, 2010
Urban Cinefile

On a side note, can you believe the Oscar-winning star of RAY made a crack about Helen Keller?

Full Review… | December 6, 2009

What sours F Gary Gray's film is the drawn-out sadism of its violence - a depressing case of torture-porn methods infecting another genre.

Full Review… | December 4, 2009
Sunday Times (UK)

[It's] pretending to examine the nature of justice, test the parameters of law and probe the relationship between good and evil. But really it's just intent on blowing shit up.

Full Review… | December 4, 2009
Observer [UK]

Law Abiding Citizen tries to be two kinds of exploitation film at once, and it ends up as neither.

Full Review… | December 4, 2009
Independent on Sunday

The film's entertainment value resides almost entirely in the ingenuity of Butler's modus operandi; but this is cancelled out by the film's underlying stupidity.

Full Review… | November 27, 2009

Relentlessly ugly, preposterous and hackneyed of dialogue: guilty on all counts. It will do well, then.

Full Review… | November 27, 2009
Empire Magazine

Audience Reviews for Law Abiding Citizen

An excellent thriller that takes you to the edge of your seat. Excellent acting across the board makes this movie much better than the average revenge flick. Butler's bow as the "bad guy" truly makes the film as you tend to understand his want for revenge and makes him someone you can connect with. Overall a good action thriller.

John Manard

Super Reviewer

As a fun, (un)intelligent revenge thriller, Law Abiding Citizen held my interest through and through. I would have preferred a less farfetched conclusion, but Gerard Butler and Jamie Foxx give great performances as their characters square off and spew at each other there opposing yet equally flawed perceptions on the American legal system.

Edward Boxler

Super Reviewer

Fun and exciting. I enjoyed it a great deal.

Christian C

Super Reviewer

No offence but if you liked this movie, I am probably a lot smarter than you.

Stuart Brooks

Super Reviewer

Law Abiding Citizen Quotes

Nice bed.
Clyde Shelton:
Thanks. It's a single.
– Submitted by Ausautas V (13 months ago)
Clyde Shelton:
I did what I had to do.
– Submitted by Rolf J (21 months ago)
Nick Rice:
I had to call his wife and tell her that her husband had been buried alive.
Clyde Shelton:
Well, justice should be harsh Nick... especially for those who denied it to others.
– Submitted by Taylor A (2 years ago)
Detective Dunnigan:
I believe those cots are bolted into the cell.
Clyde Shelton:
Well, thats what wrenches are for... Dumbass!
– Submitted by Stephen C (2 years ago)
Nick Rice:
How bout fuck no.
– Submitted by Stephen S (2 years ago)
Detective Dunnigan:
Surprise mother fucker!
– Submitted by PJ M (2 years ago)

Discussion Forum

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