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Bennett's War

Movie review by
Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media
Bennett's War Movie Poster Image
Predictable crowd-pleaser feels like a motocross commercial.
  • PG-13
  • 2019
  • 95 minutes

Parents say

age 18+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Promotes second chances, discipline, hard work, rehabilitation, and healing power of sports and ambition. Also sheds light on wounded warriors/disabled veterans and the various ways they can overcome their challenges. Family and friendship, teamwork, mentorship are all valued.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Bennett is determined to work hard at his rehab so he can race again. Sophie is dedicated to her husband and son. Cal is a loving, faithful father and grandfather. Cyrus is a loyal friend and boss. Racial/ethnic diversity limited to two Iranian American cousins involved with motocross, one of whom makes self-deprecating Muslim/Arab jokes. Movie is male-centric, has few women other than Bennett's wife.

Violence

Movie begins with soldiers being wounded in a firefight; they're shot at and trip a landmine/IED that explodes and injures the main character and another soldier, both of whom need intensive recovery and rehab. Bennett hurts himself falling off the motorcycle during a couple of races. Two characters punch each other.

Sex

A married couple embraces and kisses, a couple of times suggestively in bed. Sophie jokes that she can help get sponsorships because the "sponsors are men" and she "has boobs." Scantily clad women walk around the races.

Language

"Bulls--t," "hell," "a--hole," "s--t," "son of a bitch," "damn," "jerk," "you suck," "pr--k," "boobs," "trailer trash," "oh my God." Jokes about a character's Iranian/Muslim heritage (made by the character himself, but still troubling): "Do you think you came across my cousin Mahmoud?" "He only dabbled in terrorism." "Aren't you Muslim?"/"Only in front of my grandma."

Consumerism

Lucas Oil, Protect the Harvest, MAV TV (all companies owned by the movie's executive producer) are plastered over nearly everything at races. Lots of other corporate sponsors and companies prominently featured, including Kawasaki, Yamaha, Wiley X sunglasses, Renthal, VW, Panterra Racing, GMC, KTM, Suzuki, Chevrolet, Cyclone.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Bennett's War -- a drama that follows a medically discharged soldier (Michael Roark) who spends a year in rehab -- is part motocross-comeback story, part wounded-warrior tale. Produced by motocross-industry sponsors and insiders, the film brings the sport to mainstream audiences while heavily promoting its corporate products and brands (primarily Lucas Oil, MAV TV, and Protect the Harvest, all companies that are run by the filmmakers). There's occasional cursing (including "s--t," "son of a bitch," "bulls--t," and more) and a few jokes that come across as Islamophobic. The movie opens with wartime violence that seriously injures two American soldiers, and later the main character is reinjured during motocross-related accidents. A married couple embraces and kisses. In addition to promoting the sports the producers sponsor, the film has messages about second chances, discipline, hard work, and the value of teamwork and mentorship.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byTravisBickle August 30, 2019

A complete WASTE of time and money!

I found the film to be a regurgitation... and a waste of money and time.

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

BENNETT'S WAY follows Marshall Bennett (Michael Roark), a motorcycle-riding Army sergeant who's deployed in the Middle East. Then he and a fellow soldier are seriously injured by an IED and are medically discharged. Back home in Southern California a year later, Marshall goes to rehab, works at his friend Cyrus' (Ali Afshar) motorcycle/motocross shop, helps his father (Trace Adkins) on the family farm, and takes care of his baby while his young wife, Sophie (Allison Paige), goes to nursing school. When Marshall discovers that his father is on the verge of losing the farm, Marshall decides to go back to motocross racing, despite the sizable risk it poses to healthy riders -- let alone those with permanent injuries. With sponsorship help from Cyrus and moral support from an initially reluctant Sophie, Marshall trains to make a professional motocross comeback.

Is it any good?

This formulaic but feel-good drama is filled with enough racing scenes to keep motocross fans happy. Off-road motorcycle racing hasn't been featured in as many movies as other, more mainstream sports, but Bennett's Way does a serviceable job off introducing it (as well as real motocross athletes, sponsors, and venues) in an accessible way to the uninitiated. There's not much substance to the plot, but audiences will root for the earnest, hard-working Marshall as he trains and overcomes setbacks to place at various races.

That said, all of the overt product placement is off-putting. Yes, races are heavily sponsored in real life, too, but the Lucas Oil branding becomes even more blatant when you know that company founder Forrest Lucas, who also has a cameo in the film, is one of the movie's financial backers. The script also has a few Muslim/Iranian/terrorist jokes, but since the actor (and the character he plays) saying the lines is Iranian, the script toes the line between self-deprecating and Islamophobic. At least the decent performances, compelling race sequences, and empowering messages about wounded warriors finding their passion again help make up for the overly familiar storyline and cliché-filled script.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the sport of motocross and what makes extreme sports interesting to audiences. What did you know about motocross before Bennett's War, and what did you learn?

  • Who do you think the movie's intended audience is? What message do you think the filmmakers want the audience to take away from watching?

  • Whom do you consider a role model in the movie? Which character strengths did the character(s) display?

  • A lot of consumer brands are highlighted in the movie, some rather conspicuously. Did you notice it? Does this bother you?

Movie details

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