John Woo Presents: Stranglehold

Game review by
Andrew Bub, Common Sense Media
John Woo Presents: Stranglehold Game Poster Image
Woo's stylized violence comes to interactive life.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 9+
Based on 5 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

It's an action crime drama -- specifically a John Woo movie -- come to life. Vengeance is more important that police procedure.


Lots of gunplay where the shotgun does major damage. When in slow-motion matrix-type mode, you decide where to place bullets so that they matter when they enter the body.


Mild to strong cursing including the use of "Damn," "S--t," and "Hell."


Fake products only.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Some characters smoke and alcohol heals you.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the game glorifies violence in a graphic and, some would say, irresponsible manner; and the game's central message is that one badass cop can take down entire crime families with firepower. Not a real-world lesson, but one you can find on the silver screen. The game lets you jump in various directions and shoot bad guys in slow motion.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byTwilight April 9, 2008


Stranglehold is an extremely fun game. Destructible environments and Slow-Mo effects make every level a unique experience. The down sides are, enemies kind of... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byxgamerbrox August 30, 2015


John woo's violent crime shooter is interesting! I did not think the story was great, characters were ok I liked that john woo was in the game himself, VER... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old January 20, 2011

What's it about?

JOHN WOO PRESENTS: STRANGLEHOLD could call itself Hard Boiled 2 because it functions as a spiritual sequel to the original groundbreaking film by John Woo, the Hong Kong action director. The game features the likeness, voice, and attitude of that film's hero, international action star Chow Yun Fat. Since it's based on director Woo's cinematic oeuvre, fans know what to expect. Guns, more guns, doves for symbolism, and slow-motion ballet-type carnage that attempts to make mass-killing seem picturesque. Needless to say the game is rated M-Mature by the ESRB.

Is it any good?

Given that there's not much to the cinematics, dialogue, exposition, or presentation of Stranglehold, Mr. Woo might want to reconsider lending the game his name. But the action is satisfying, even though what you're playing is essentially a one- or two-trick pony.

Stranglehold features a major gimmick in search of a game. And that gimmick is: "Tequila Time" (no, Jose Cuervo isn't involved -- the character's name is Tequila), a way to slow everything down and let you place bullets exactly where you need them to go. You gain this miraculous trick by doing other cool stunts ripped from preposterous action movies. The level design, pacing, and use of Tequila Time make for a fun and intense gaming experience.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how this game compares to a John Woo movie. Are the characters the same? Is the plot? Are the mood and tone? What makes interactive games and movies different? In real life, is vengeance ever acceptable?

Game details

  • Platforms: PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
  • Price: $59.99
  • Available online? Not available online
  • Developer: Midway
  • Release date: September 6, 2007
  • Genre: Third-Person Shooter
  • ESRB rating: M for Blood, Drug Reference, Intense violence, Strong Language
  • Last updated: August 25, 2016

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