Assault on VA-33
By Brian Costello,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Violence, cursing in dreadful, uninspired action movie.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
No positive messages in trite action movie.
Positive Role Models
Characters are basically stock characters seen in many other action movies.
Violence & Scariness
Several characters shot in the head and killed at point-blank range. Characters stabbed in the throat and killed. Fighting with assault weapons, sniper shootings, helicopter shot down. Martial arts fighting. Characters killed by explosions. Captured soldier shown beaten up and tortured, shot in the thigh, and then the assailant sticks his gun inside the wound before taking a bolt cutter to his fingers (not shown, implied). Characters pistol-whipped. Hostages shot and killed.
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Profanity often used, including "f--k" and "motherf---er." Also: "bulls--t," "dips--t," 's--t," "a--hole," "pissed," "goddammit," and "hell."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Bad guy smokes a cigarette while torturing an American soldier. Talk of drinking margaritas and mai tais in Cabo once the terrorists complete their mission.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Assault on VA-33 is a 2021 action movie in which armed terrorists take over a VA hospital and hold the staff and a general hostage. Expect constant action movie violence, including scenes where characters are shot and killed at point-blank range, usually in the forehead. In a flashback scene, a soldier is tortured and beaten, shot in the thigh, and then the assailant sticks his gun into the wound before taking bolt clippers to his fingers (not shown). Martial arts fighting. Characters stabbed in the throat and killed. Death by sniper. A helicopter is shot down. Explosions. Hostages shot and killed. The lead character struggles with PTSD, and flashback scenes show when he lost his squadron due to an explosion. Constant profanity, including frequent use of "f--k." Cigarette smoking.
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Assault on VA-33
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What's the Story?
In ASSAULT ON VA-33, Jason Hill (Sean Patrick Flanery) is a veteran living in Buffalo who struggles with PTSD. After his session at the VA hospital, he has plans to get lunch with his therapist wife and teen daughter, but his wife must cancel when the hospital has a top-secret high-ranking official coming in for a session: the general of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As Hill leaves, he begins to notice suspicious behavior -- a new security guard, suspicious elevator repairmen, staff wearing IDs that aren't theirs. He calls the police department, but the chief (Michael Jai White) dismisses Hill as a mentally unstable veteran with paranoid delusions. However, Hill's suspicions prove to be correct, as he soon discovers that a group of terrorists have taken the building hostage. The hostages are led by a Ukranian terrorist named Adrian Rybakov, who demands $50 million and safe passage out of the country. Since the police don't believe him and the FBI hasn't yet arrived, it's up to Hill to take out the terrorists one at a time, and save the general, his wife and daughter, and everyone else who has been taken hostage.
Is It Any Good?
This movie has awful dialogue, excruciating attempts at humor, and cliched action. Assault on VA-33 is a mindless action movie that does, admittedly, derive some entertainment value out of unintentional hilarity. International terrorists, led by, of course, a guy with a slicked-back ponytail and bad Boris Badonov accent, take over a Veterans Administration hospital outside of Buffalo, New York, and it's up to our hero, played by Sean Patrick Flanery, to stop them by picking them off one by one and by any means necessary, be it through punches, kicks, knives, guns, assault weapons. The villains are killed off in order of their relevance to the story, and, making this even more like a horror movie, there's even a police chief who refuses to believe that anything amiss is happening until it's almost too late.
It's a low-budget movie -- there's a flashback scene in which Flanery's character is a soldier with his troops who seem to be fighting not in some foreign locale but an abandoned Rust Belt warehouse -- but that could be overlooked if there was anything fresh or redeeming about this. The violence is constant, with plenty of hostages and terrorists shot and killed in the head at point-blank range. While no one necessarily expects action movies like these to be masterpieces of cinema, there's at least a hope that they won't be so paint-by-numbers, like so many action movies done so many times before. This movie never does anything new or different or exciting, not even once. It's an uninspired action movie that tries and fails to make up for this lack of inspiration by throwing in as much gratuitous violence and profanity as possible.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about action movie violence. How does the violence in this movie compare to other action movies you've seen?
Did you think the violence here was necessary to the story? Why or why not?
Did the profanity add a sense of authenticity to the dialogue, or did it seem cliched and unnecessary? Why?
- On DVD or streaming: April 2, 2021
- Cast: Sean Patrick Flanery, Michael Jai White, Mark Dacascos
- Director: Christopher Ray
- Inclusion Information: Black actors
- Studio: Paramount Home Media Distribution
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: Violence and language.
- Last updated: October 8, 2022
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