By Tara McNamara,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Violent, faith-tinged thriller has little saving grace.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Amid the scenes of graphic violence are messages about resilience, redemption, and embracing second chances, but the grim context and poor script mean they're unlikely to be meaningful.
Positive Role Models
The only positive, albeit unrealistic, role model is an 11-year-old boy who survives a horrific traumatic event and manages to put it behind him. He asks to be loved and taken care of, while giving love, and is also a tech wiz who's cracked the crypto currency market. Other characters are far less admirable.
Two women are shown to be survivors: They're tough, smart, and formidable when they need to be. But most female characters are sex workers who are not portrayed particularly positively. Main character is named Gypsy, a term that some find offensive. A few supporting characters of color, including an 11-year-old boy who is the movie's sole truly admirable character.
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Violence & Scariness
A family is graphically slaughtered. A child endures parental separation in the most emotionally devastating way. Child and woman are in extreme peril throughout the film. Shootings with close-ups of bloody wounds. A character threatens to kill a child's dog out of malice, puts a pistol to the dog's head. Death of a baby. Reference to rape. Detailed threats of violence.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Long, steamy sex scene with nudity. Burlesque dancer does a slow, sexy dance, stripping down to thong and pasties with close-ups of those body parts. Close-up of a sex worker on her knees, opening someone's pants. Character initiates transactional sex with villain.
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Extremely strong language throughout: "ass," "a--hole," "bitch," "bulls--t," "dumbass," "goddammit," "s--t," and frequent use of "f--k."
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Products & Purchases
People are mercilessly murdered over money. Kid is proven to be a hero because he's good at making money. Revenge comes through stealing money.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Main character constantly has a cigarette between her lips: Most of the time it's not lit, as a kind of quirk, but she does smoke in a moment where she's depicted as brave and cool. Child emulates her and tries to smoke in a humorous bonding scene; Guardian permits it for a moment and then admonishes him. Whiskey chugged from bottle. Champagne served with breakfast. Character mentions having a hangover.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that 9 Bullets is an action crime thriller with religious elements (both Christian and Jewish) about a burlesque dancer named Gypsy (Lena Headey) who goes on the run with her neighbor's 11-year-old son (Dean Scott Vazquez) in an effort to save his life. A child's family is murdered in front of him, and the assassins are unrelenting in their commitment to kill the boy, his dog, and the person trying to get him to safety. Gypsy goes to the villain's house and has sex with him in a transactional way so that he won't kill the dog (a pistol is put to the dog's head). Guns are a constant, and people are blown away. There's nudity in sexual situations, including a sultry striptease to a cherished Christmas carol. Gypsy constantly has a cigarette between her lips, and at one point the 11-year-old does, too. There's a message about atonement and second chances here, but the script is beyond terrible, so it's unlikely to be meaningful.
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Based on 1 parent review
Nine Bullets of Worthlessness.
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What's the Story?
In 9 BULLETS, Gypsy (Lena Headey) is leaving behind her days as a burlesque dancer to focus on her new career as an author. But on the night of her final performance, her neighbors are assassinated by her ex-boyfriend, the local crime lord (Sam Worthington). When the murdered couple's son, Sam (Dean Scott Vazquez), comes to her for help, Gypsy reluctantly puts her new life on hold to try to get the boy to safety.
Is It Any Good?
There's irony in the fact that a film that's ostensibly about redemption has no redeeming value. One thing that's (sort of) original? Gypsy is a stripper who has to find her heart of gold. She's initially inhumanly selfish. When she discovers Sam hiding in her house after watching his family get slaughtered in front of his eyes, covered in blood, she lets him know that the killers are after him, too, and then tries to stick him on a bus with no supervision. It's heartless and makes no sense, nor do any of the choices made by any of the characters.
The script is incomprehensibly bad, but what's most disturbing is that it's not just poorly constructed, it's poorly intended. Every skeevy, repugnant idea that you don't want to see on the screen is here -- and just when you think the imagery can't get worse, it does. Like a gun put to the head of a small dog. Or a baby dying on-screen. Or Gypsy having sex with a despicable killer to save the lives of those in her care, and then being shown to really, really enjoy it. And then there's the fact that the locations on Gypsy and Sam's journey don't match a logical route from Los Angeles to North Dakota. Or the idea that Gypsy went to Princeton, but when we see her manuscript, she writes about the pain of "loosing a child." Looking at the big-name talent involved with the production (Barbara Hershey! Sam Worthington! Diane Warren!) of 9 Bullets indicates that someone involved with the project is good at writing ... writing checks, that is.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the violence in 9 Bullets. Was it shocking or thrilling? What's the impact of media violence on kids?
Does this qualify as a faith-based film? Why, or why not? How does it compare to others you've seen?
What is perseverance, and why is it an important character trait? Gypsy is a survivor, but is she resilient?
- In theaters: April 22, 2022
- On DVD or streaming: June 7, 2022
- Cast: Lena Headey, Sam Worthington, Dean Scott Vazquez
- Director: Gigi Gaston
- Studio: Screen Media
- Genre: Thriller
- Topics: Cars and Trucks
- Run time: 91 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: October 8, 2022
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