Critic Reviews



Based on 18 critic reviews provided by
The Hollywood Reporter
Quite an entertaining genre piece boasting a terrifically sinewy lead performance from Wanda De Jesus.
As it is, Illegal Tender works as a melodrama, and it benefits enormously from the performance of Wanda DeJesus.
The movie's a genuine oddity: a Latino action drama with one foot in bullet-spitting genre flicks -- '70s blaxploitation and '80s coke-kingpin films are the primary reference points -- and the other in raggedly personal family melodrama.
For a second, the movie has the snap of a truly surprising thriller -- like a Hispanic "Kill Bill" -- about an aging lioness willing to kill to protect her cub.
Never gets the mixture right, lurching between bullet-happy shootouts and overwrought domestic content.
What kind of movie is misdirected, poorly acted, preposterously written--and still wholly entertaining? A B-movie, of course. While Illegal Tender has misguided pretensions towards Serious Filmmaking, it's surprisingly likeable if you see it instead as a cheesy thriller good for a lazy Friday night.
This tale of crime and punishment is wrapped in a veneer of flashy attitude but founders on mundane details.
Never transcends its clichés.
Chicago Tribune
Illegal Tender echoes "A History of Violence," another gritty film that explores escaping a criminal past. But the vast vapidity behind Illegal Tender's ill-conceived story line is far harder to overcome.
Miami Herald
Illegal Tender is the sort of crime movie in which nothing, not one detail, has been observed from real life; it's composed entirely of fantasies and falsehoods lifted from bad movies and hip-hop videos.
The real mystery here is why this slapdash semi-effort didn't go straight to video.

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