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Law Abiding Citizen (2009)



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

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


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

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



liked it
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 515,140

My Rating

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


Mystery & Suspense, Drama

Kurt Wimmer

Feb 16, 2010


Overture Films - Official Site External Icon

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February 15, 2010:
RT on DVD & Blu-Ray: Law Abiding Citizen and Black Dynamite
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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.

November 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Time Out | Comment (1)
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop 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.

October 21, 2009 Full Review Source: Arizona Republic | Comments (15)
Arizona Republic
Top Critic IconTop 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.

October 16, 2009 Full Review Source: Washington Post | Comments (27)
Washington Post
Top Critic IconTop 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.

October 16, 2009 Full Review Source:
Top Critic IconTop 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.

October 16, 2009 Full Review Source: New York Daily News | Comments (10)
New York Daily News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

October 16, 2009 Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Comments (3)
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic IconTop Critic

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

March 29, 2011 Full Review Source:

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.

October 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Quickflix

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

August 9, 2010 Full Review Source: | Comments (2)

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.

April 15, 2010 Full Review Source: Fan The Fire | Comments (2)
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.

February 16, 2010 Full Review Source: San Francisco Examiner
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.

February 5, 2010 Full Review Source: NewsBlaze

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

January 31, 2010 Full Review Source: Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema | Comments (7)
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.

January 30, 2010 Full Review Source:

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''.

January 28, 2010 Full Review Source: The Age (Australia)
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."

January 28, 2010 Full Review Source: NewsBlaze

Bloodshed and torture abound in this sadistic thriller with pretensions.

January 26, 2010 Full Review Source: Sydney Morning Herald | Comment (1)
Sydney Morning Herald

An entertaining thrill ride but not much more.

January 26, 2010 Full Review Source: FILMINK (Australia)
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.

January 22, 2010 Full Review Source: Moviedex | Comments (4)

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

January 21, 2010 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile | Comment (1)
Urban Cinefile

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

December 6, 2009 Full Review Source:

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.

December 4, 2009 Full Review Source: Sunday Times (UK) | Comments (8)
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.

December 4, 2009 Full Review Source: Observer [UK] | Comments (3)
Observer [UK]

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

December 4, 2009 Full Review Source: Independent on Sunday
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.

November 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Independent

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

November 27, 2009 Full Review Source: Empire Magazine | Comment (1)
Empire Magazine

Audience Reviews for Law Abiding Citizen

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.
April 19, 2014

Super Reviewer

Fun and exciting. I enjoyed it a great deal.
May 14, 2013

Super Reviewer

No offence but if you liked this movie, I am probably a lot smarter than you.
January 13, 2013

Super Reviewer

    1. Inmate: Nice bed.
    2. Clyde Shelton: Thanks. It's a single.
    – Submitted by Ausautas V (10 months ago)
    1. Clyde Shelton: I did what I had to do.
    – Submitted by Rolf J (18 months ago)
    1. Nick Rice: I had to call his wife and tell her that her husband had been buried alive.
    2. Clyde Shelton: Well, justice should be harsh Nick... especially for those who denied it to others.
    – Submitted by Taylor A (2 years ago)
    1. Detective Dunnigan: I believe those cots are bolted into the cell.
    2. Clyde Shelton: Well, thats what wrenches are for... Dumbass!
    – Submitted by Stephen C (2 years ago)
    1. Nick Rice: How bout fuck no.
    – Submitted by Stephen S (2 years ago)
    1. Detective Dunnigan: Surprise mother fucker!
    – Submitted by PJ M (2 years ago)
View all quotes (13)

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