A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The plot's more philosophical points about the problems of the legal system are drowned out by its murders and gory violence.
Positive Role Models
Clyde is a grief-stricken man on a brutal terrorist campaign of revenge; Nick is a career lawyer who, at first is more interested in his conviction rate than in fighting to uphold the letter of the law.
Violence & Scariness
Scenes of torture; also scenes in which a young child watches the torture on DVD. An attempted rape, which is called off in order to commit murder. A lethal injection is deliberately engineered to cause agony. Scenes of stabbing, shooting, beatings, and bombs going off -- both large incendiary devices and small, hand-held deathtraps. In one bloody, brutal, and shocking scene, a man is stabbed with a sharp object repeatedly in the jugular, with copious amounts of blood. Scenes of bloody corpses as well as people paralyzed by shellfish venom.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Nude male and female buttocks. Discussions of sex acts in vulgar language.
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Frequent strong language, including "f--k," "motherf--ker," "balls," "prick," "ass," "piss," "s--t," "bitch," "a--hole," "damn," "hell," "Jesus Christ," and more.
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Products & Purchases
Very few brands are shown/talked about, but Pepsi products are seen, and iPod is mentioned by name.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Cocaine use is shown; characters drink beer, wine, and liquor.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Law Abiding Citizen contains several scenes of extremely bloody violence -- in addition to the home invasion/robbery/attempted rape/murder sequence that it begins with, there's a brutal stabbing and a horrifying torture scene in which a chemically paralyzed man is strapped to a gurney and has his limbs and organs sliced off. Viewers don't see the actual slicing, but they do see the man's limbless, mutilated corpse, and some of the crueler acts are discussed at length. The matter-of-fact nature of the brutal scenes is particularly disquieting. There's also plenty of strong language, some sexual content (including partial nudity), drinking, and drug use. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Ludicrous and over pumped, LAW ABIDING CITIZEN is an overdone thriller that also has some real shocks and a couple of nasty surprises. Director F. Gary Gray (The Italian Job, The Negotiator) has the flash and enthusiasm to make this kind of film and the other diversions that have made up his career, but watching him flail for deeper meaning and social commentary is a bit of a strain. Foxx is decent and tortured; Butler is an appropriately regretful sociopath until the film's third act, when he has to kick the homicide up a notch to drive the film toward its climax.
As a new-millennium spin on films like Death Wish or Taxi Driver, Law Abiding Citizen works well when it keeps to the simple kinetic energy of the action; Clyde's machinations are just one step removed from the four-color outlandishness of a comic book evil genius. Gray assembles the bits and pieces of Kurt Wimmer's script with competent mechanics, but he falters when he tries to connect the action set pieces with a plot that makes sense or doesn't kick against the limits of plausibility. Law Abiding Citizen has its moments, but those moments don't have a movie.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.