Wahlberg does what Wahlberg does, bringing muscular conviction to his troubled, tough-guy role. The city may be broken, but the movie star's formula is working fine.
—Steven Rea Philadelphia Inquirer
It's pretty trashy and sometimes stupid. But there was never a moment when I wasn't entertained on one level or another.
—Richard Roeper Chicago Sun Times
Hughes visual choices can feel borrowed and clichéd, but his regard for beauty often compensates for his blunders, as does the sturdy, reliable appeal of another story of good and evil, men and women, light and dark, glass and steel, sex and power. As it turns out, there are eight million and one stories in the naked city.
—Manohla Dargis New York Times
The truth is that we're way past being outraged by these sorts of Crimes of the One Percent, not because they don't happen, but because the real version is so much more interesting.
—Owen Gleiberman Entertainment Weekly
For an hour or so, aided by the autumnal glow of Ben Seresin's cinematography, director Hughes maintains a firm handle on the story's turnabouts. Then the script goes a little nuts with coincidence and improbability.
—Michael Phillips Chicago Tribune
Broken City never asks its gumshoe to repent for the blood on his own hands, and the anticorruption - but pro-vigilantism - ethics here are especially murky.
—A.A. Dowd Time Out New York
Ultimately, everyone in the movie is wasted, including Catherine Zeta-Jones, who provides great eye candy but has nothing important to say or do. Most of the roles are so ambiguous you end up scratching your head in the final reel, and some of the loose ends are so irrelevant they seem to have ended up on the cutting-room floor. With Russell Crowe, it really helps if you can read lips.
—Rex Reed New York Observer
It tries to be a moody thriller, but cliched dialogue and too many coincidences make for a predictable and hackneyed film.
—Claudia Puig USA Today
Nothing clicks, nothing resonates, everything's broken.
—Betsy Sharkey Los Angeles Times
The only reason to see this dreary parade of deception and venality is Mark Wahlberg's performance as a disgraced ex-cop caught up in the thick of menacing events he can't understand. It's striking how this tightly focused actor can find his own firmly grounded reality in the falsest of surroundings.
—Joe Morgenstern Wallstreet Journal