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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
18
Cast
Gerard Butler
Leslie Bibb
Jamie Foxx
Colm Meaney
Bruce McGill
Michael Irby
Regina Hall
Viola Davis.
Directors
F Gary Gray.
Screenwriters
Running Time
108 minutes

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Law Abiding Citizen
Revenge is a dish best served, well, whenever you get round to it...


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Plot
After the rapist-murderer of his wife and child gets off with a deal from ambitious assistant District Attorney Nick Rice (Foxx), grieving, outraged Clyde Shelton (Butler) gets biblical, waging a one-man war against the entire criminal justice system and the city of Philadelphia...


Review
Law Abiding Citizen
Revenge thrillers never appeal to our better natures. They pander to lust for retribution, and get away with murder by appearing to offset wrong with right. But this is the kind of film that leaves you so disappointed in humanity, the planet would be better left to the cockroaches.

Death Wish vigilantism goes too far when you no longer grasp who you are supposed to be rooting for. No sooner has Jamie Foxx demonstrated commitment to his art with The Soloist than he takes complete leave of his senses to play an unbelievable character utterly unlikable from start to finish. His hotshot ADA, Nick, is arrogant, detached and no great shakes as a husband and father, either. After a horror-movie opening sequence of a home invasion, in which Butler’s ordinary, decent guy Clyde is stabbed and bound, helpless while his wife and little girl are at the mercy of a rapist murderer and burglar sidekick (and is inexplicably left alive to identify his tormentors), he has all our sympathy. And he gets even more when the lesser of two evils is condemned to death while the devil “co-operates” with the prosecution and gets a pass. We feel Clyde’s pain.

Ten years pass, which seems an arbitrary time lapse — until it emerges it would have taken at least that long for inventor Clyde to have amassed a fortune, accrued hitman expertise and constructed a lair only a Bond villain could love, packed with surveillance equipment, explosives, gadgets and clothes racks for 101 disguises. He’s like the Count Of Monte Cristo if Edmond Dantès had mad IT skills and a degree in engineering.

What ensues would just be silly if the cat-and-mouse game weren’t so vicious, a series of indiscriminate slaughters when Clyde has flipped from betrayed victim to maniac on a senseless mission. Director Gray is a money-maker (Friday et al), but taste isn’t his hallmark. The film lurches from one massacre set-piece to another, the manner of each death telegraphed with clumsy glee before it happens. Foxx’s Nick seems merely peeved that his own hypocrisy and superiority are being challenged, while Butler’s Clyde acts like he has rabies. One might argue for the defence that this is meant to be provocatively subversive, with the ‘good guys’ becoming indistinguishable from the bad. The jury doesn’t buy it.


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


Reviewed by Angie Errigo

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Law Abiding Citizen
Empire Star Rating

Amazing

Really enjoyed this film, Perfect choice of cast for each role, shocking twist at the end and a perfectly good story... not a 2 star at all. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by ryanchallenger at 14:35, 23 April 2013 | Report This Post


Law Abiding Citizen Review

Though I thought some of the violence was uneccesary I thought Law Abiding Citizen was just brilliant with a daring performance from Gerard Butler. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 23:30, 04 March 2012 | Report This Post


RE: When picking your nails becomes more exciting...

Foxx has a terrible character in this film.I dont think it´s dislike for him as an actor as such. That his character could live amid at times senseless slaughter,makes no sense. This is a film though that makes little sense.Aimed squarely at the bottom end of cinema goers. ... More

Posted by thetruth at 15:27, 26 September 2011 | Report This Post


RE: When picking your nails becomes more exciting...

Finally saw this and really enjoyed it. Favourite scene without doubt has to be when Butler gives the judge a bashing for being prepared to grant bail. It's funny but also genuinely a little concerning that this is the justice system that exists today.   Though I agree Foxx's character was not particularly likeable, not sure where all the Foxx hate has come from. I think he's a good actor, and don't really know how anyone can see a film like Ray and deny the man has some ser... More

Posted by brucejackiejet at 10:23, 26 September 2011 | Report This Post


RE: When picking your nails becomes more exciting...

L: Milly1905 As much as I love Gerard Butler, even he was not enough to keep me concentrating on the film, and I think when fidgiting with fingernails distracts you, there is obviously a problem. I like the concept and the idea of the film, and I'm all for widening my imagination, but the way the film played out, it was so unrealistic that it just caused me to screw up my face in a 'yeah right' sort of fashion. oxx's character was unlikeablers just confused me and I wasn't siding with eith... More

Posted by pauljthomas at 12:36, 13 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: Law Abiding Citizen

Im going to give this film a 4.5 out of 5 for many reasons. I think the film was very well though out, the plot stayed at a consistantly high level through out the duration of the film. The only thing I can realy comment negatively on was the timescale between the death sentence and when the first act of vengance that took place. I understand that by using a timescale such a ten years, this further emphasises the enourmous dedication and contemplation that was required in order to carry out suc... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Lloyd Ihenacho at 10:52, 13 July 2011 | Report This Post


RE: strangeone = Imbecile.

L: strangeone Three stars for law abiding Shitizen? So who's the imbecile? I'm only joking, point taken, that was a bit ignorant of me. Apologies to anyone wishing to see this whose experience I may have ruined with my spoiler review sp; I've edited your comments. Please be more careful. ... More

Posted by shool at 10:25, 11 July 2011 | Report This Post


A Lot Of Hot Air

Honestly, this is totally what I expected from this pretentious nonsense. Completely devoid of any morality, and crammed with characters so utterly bewildering, it's a chore trying to work out which characters you're rooting for. The script is laughable, and the majority of the elements contained in the film are rather cliché. For the record however, the film is, somehow, watchable. It's just nutty that for a film that spends so much time creating atmosphere, it never does anything else. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by blaud at 19:30, 14 June 2011 | Report This Post


2 stars my ass

I really enjoyed this film. 2 stars:-( ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by the film man at 19:42, 08 March 2011 | Report This Post


I liked it!

Enjoyable tosh! Violent, yet not as "ugly" as this review has you to believe. The bit where they find the remains of one bloke is fantastic! ha ha, great fun. Just don't take it too seriously. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by tysmuse at 15:42, 04 December 2010 | Report This Post


Not really worth watching

Who was chester ? Why did sheltons family get killed in the first place ? ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by elimonator at 09:16, 27 July 2010 | Report This Post


When picking your nails becomes more exciting...

As much as I love Gerard Butler, even he was not enough to keep me concentrating on the film, and I think when fidgiting with fingernails distracts you, there is obviously a problem. I like the concept and the idea of the film, and I'm all for widening my imagination, but the way the film played out, it was so unrealistic that it just caused me to screw up my face in a 'yeah right' sort of fashion. Jamie Foxx's character was unlikeable, Butlers just confused me and I wasn't siding with either. S... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Milly1905 at 22:48, 29 June 2010 | Report This Post


Missed the Point

Not knowing who to root for is precisely the point of this film. The entire movie is aimed at making the viewer decide if and when it has become too much. That aspect was thought provoking and makes it stand out from the rest. I think Gerrard Butler's character,Clyde Shelton, was really interesting, but underdone. His acting was superb, but his role, which was the most interesting character by far, was hardly given a chance to shine. Jamie Foxx either didn't get into his character of Nick R... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Darfaultner at 13:44, 05 June 2010 | Report This Post


RE: strangeone = Imbecile.

Three stars for law abiding Shitizen? So who's the imbecile? I'm only joking, point taken, that was a bit ignorant of me. Apologies to anyone wishing to see this whose experience I may have ruined with my spoiler review ... More

Posted by strangeone at 13:44, 01 May 2010 | Report This Post


strangeone = Imbecile.

Well for anyone hoping to watch this movie, without the ending being ruined, try not reading strangeone's so called attempt at a review. How anyone can be so utterly ignorant, and arrogant towards other people on this site is quite bewildering. Surely someone can moniter this site towards cretinous infants like this? That's the second time I have glanced at others reviews to find a non-warned spoiler. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by sonofjor-el at 23:57, 09 April 2010 | Report This Post


Good thriller with admirable themes and message

Law Abiding Citizen is such a good film in my book because it goes against the flow and takes more than one risky turn in its writing. None of the main characters are likeable, the choices they make are never the best ones and none of them actually get what they want in the end. Plus, for a thriller, there are surprising amounts of themes to be found and discussed. Intrigued? The writing is easily the best thing about this thriller, as F Gary Gray's directing is slightly uninspirational at time... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by djphilips at 23:47, 08 April 2010 | Report This Post


-

I think Empire was spot on with this review.   Edited for Spoilers ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by strangeone at 08:16, 12 March 2010 | Report This Post


flawed, but bloody entertaining.

i will be the first to say this film was not scored badly, it does have many flaws but this is the first film in a long time that has really got in my head...but in a good way. its full of very clever tricks and plot twists you just dont see comming, both butler and foxx are on top form and from the bad press i really was not expecting much from this but have found my self watching it two days in a row now, something i never really do. so sod what you read about this flick and make your own ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by retranimator at 00:42, 23 February 2010 | Report This Post


Pleasantly surprising.

I enjoyed this film much more then i then i thought as i was expecting a standard 'man looking for people who killed family, doesnt stop til everyone including self is dead' fare. however this takes a surprisingly different turn, making it more watchable. The 'big surprise' ending is pretty obvious but dont let that put you off. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by paulandnic14 at 17:53, 27 January 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Law Abiding Citizen

I am very surprised that anyone thought Butler and Foxx were anything more than mediocre in this movie.  I've been really disappointed in some of the crap Butler has been churning out recently and whilst this was far from the worst performance ever, or the worse film ever, it really lacked depth.  The movie mentioned in my review, The Brave One, was far better in so many ways.  Jodie Foster really put across a feeling of pain and helplessness after the loss of her fiancee to a mi... More

Posted by lauriedunsire at 18:54, 21 January 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Law Abiding Citizen

L: Tiffy21 he is fucking and fucking clever! it's brilliant films ever. I had seen it in couple weeks ago. I want watching it again :) h...I see that this movie has found it's target audience. He is "fucking and fucking clever." Just what i was thinking. Tolstoy write that? u showing off again? Just like at Aunt Sissie's party. You old whip. ... More

Posted by bad hat harry at 15:57, 15 January 2010 | Report This Post


RE: Law Abiding Citizen

he is fucking and fucking clever! it's brilliant films ever. I had seen it in couple weeks ago. I want watching it again :) ... More

Posted by Tiffy21 at 15:34, 15 January 2010 | Report This Post


Entertaining, but nothing fancy (or great). ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by nc_jj at 03:46, 10 January 2010 | Report This Post


This is an entertaining movie with a solid performance by Butler

I completely agree with you "MariannaBelle", movies are meant to entertain and this film certainly does just that! I think that the Empire review takes a completely wrong tack on this film and it seems clear to me that the reviewer just didn't get the point of the film.   I thought that the whole premise of the film, Gerard Butler's character flipping after Foxx's lawyer allows his wife and child's murderer get away leniently no less believable than some of the stuff currently out th... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Francis46 at 11:55, 09 January 2010 | Report This Post


Ridiculous and Meaningless Cross Between 'Saw' and 'The Brave One'

Wasn't expecting a work of genius when I went to see this film, but was left rather disappointed. The main problem for me was the whole plot was completely ridiculous. Firstly this guy takes things WELL too far, I mean yeah fair enough murder the bad guy who killed your family but was there any need to start slaughtering anyone who was involved even in the smallest way in the trial etc?? And then the way he is in jail and manages to have the system by the balls effectively is just not believa... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by lauriedunsire at 21:20, 01 January 2010 | Report This Post


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