Law Abiding CitizenIf critical reviews have any effect on box office, you may want to rush out and see the grammatically challenged 'Law Abiding Citizen' this weekend before it's gone.

When D.A. Jamie Foxx allows one of the assailants who murdered Gerard Butler's wife and daughter go free in exchange for testifying against the other, Butler takes revenge on the perpetrators and, subsequently, the entire system. While the film combines serial revenge killing with social commentary about the justice system, many critics are deriding 'Law Biding Citizen' as a weaker version of 'Saw' with little intelligent insight.

Here's what the nation's top critics are saying about director F. Gary Gray's thriller. Law Abiding CitizenIf critical reviews have any effect on box office, you may want to rush out and see the grammatically challenged 'Law Abiding Citizen' this weekend before it's gone.

When D.A. Jamie Foxx allows one of the assailants who murdered Gerard Butler's wife and daughter go free in exchange for testifying against the other, Butler takes revenge on the perpetrators and, subsequently, the entire system. While the film combines serial revenge killing with social commentary about the justice system, many critics are deriding 'Law Biding Citizen' as a weaker version of 'Saw' with little intelligent insight. Here's what the nation's top critics are saying about director F. Gary Gray's thriller.

NY Times: "'Law Abiding Citizen' has about as much to say about real-life legal issues as 'Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen' had to say about defense policy. And it has less ethical gravity than any three of the 'Saw' movies. "

Boston Globe: "The movie appears to have been written by an automated thriller generator (enter city, enter occupations, enter films whose box office you'd like to emulate)... Most of the lines sound as if they were first spoken on 'CSI,' 'NCIS,' or the WWE... Like a lot of action-movie directors, Gray lacks the imagination to view the art of cat-and-mouse as more than a chance to play with state-of-the-art war technology."

Roger Ebert: "The explanation of [Butler's] methods is preposterous, but it comes late enough that F. Gary Gray, the director, is first able to generate considerable suspense and a sense of dread ... 'Law Abiding Citizen' is one of those movies you like more at the time than in retrospect."

Village Voice: "Director F. Gary Gray and writer Kurt Wimmer peddle cheap, graphic Z-grade revenge thrills dressed up as Knowing Sociopolitical Commentary... [Butler] won't stop speechifying about doing bad things in the name of the greater good. If the filmmakers meant a word of it, they'd quit making films and do something more useful. "



Washington Post: "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. "

Rolling Stone: "An exercise in illogic and 'Death Wish' cribbing that lets a bunch of good actors collect big paychecks for playing way less than their A game ... Did the "surprise" climax have to be this eye-rollingly stupid? "

LA Times: "The moral posturing becomes laughably self-conscious, like a politician endlessly repeating buzzwords like 'change' or 'maverick,' ultimately laying bare the complete absence of substance to the movie's conflicted message ... The film's greatest sin isn't its cynical moral posturing but its complete failure to engage audiences on even a visceral level."

Time: "The not-very-surprising ending of 'Law Abiding Citizen' is that the real victims are the audience. And what revenge can they take? They probably can't even get their money back. "

USA Today: "The filmmakers stretch the tired idea of revenge and moral outrage beyond all proportion. And in the process, the movie loses all credibility. "

Variety: "'Citizen' is a more bloated affair, and it winds up feeling overwritten yet underexplained, foregoing plausible revelations in favor of gusty debate about the ethical challenges of practicing and upholding the law. Suspense deflates even as the body count escalates. "

Hollywood Reporter:
"Ah ha, does a social message lurk within the context of rapes, dismemberment, bomb explosions and political assassinations? No, of course not. "


-- Reported by Jason Newman


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