Die in a Gunfight
By Jeffrey Anderson,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Likable but lifeless "Romeo and Juliet" update; guns, blood.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Movie is mainly about violence -- about being attracted to it, trying to escape it, and then drawing it all back again. Violence is everywhere in this story. In the very last moment, there's a noble sacrifice, but the weird, artificial coda renders it meaningless.
Positive Role Models
Main characters are all prone to violence, as well as other poor behavior. The best of the lot, arguably, is Mukul, who's unfailingly loyal to Ben and is a positively portrayed Asian character. Unfortunately, he's quite marginal to the story and has very little to do.
Violence & Scariness
Guns and shooting. Characters are shot and killed. Man kills woman (off-screen). Blood spurts. Lots of fighting and punching. Kicking. Hit in face with gun. Main character beaten up; facial wounds. Blood sprays. Spitting blood. Blood on teeth.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Passionate kissing. Shirtless man; woman in bra. Couple falls into bed while kissing; the camera then cuts to them lying in bed together. Sex-related dialogue.
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Very strong language, with use of "f--k," "s--t," "bulls--t," "p---y," "bitch," "son of a bitch," "bastard," "hell," "goddamn," "balls," "badass," plus exclamatory use of "Jesus," "Jesus Christ," and "thank God." Middle-finger gesture.
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Products & Purchases
An old ViewMaster toy is part of the story.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Regular cigarette smoking and pot smoking. Teen smoking. Secondary character guzzles a bottle of whiskey and takes pills. Main character with flask. Animated images of drinking and cocaine snorting. Shots in nightclub. Social drinking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Die in a Gunfight is an action/romance loosely modeled after Romeo and Juliet, with lots of fighting, guns, and blood. It's colorful and sometimes likable but ultimately pointless. Violence includes punching and kicking, shooting, deaths, characters being hit with guns, bloody wounds, blood spurts, spitting blood, etc. Language is also very strong, with many uses of "f--k," "s--t," "p---y," and more. Characters kiss passionately, remove their shirts (though there's no graphic nudity), and fall into bed together; they wake up next to each other (sex is implied). There's also some sex-related dialogue. Teens and adults smoke cigarettes and pot, drink (sometimes heavily), take pills, and use cocaine. Diego Boneta and Alexandra Daddario star.
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Die in a Gunfight
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What's the Story?
In DIE IN A GUNFIGHT, two powerful media families, the Gibbons and the Rathcarts, have been feuding for generations. Ben Gibbon (Diego Boneta) and Mary Rathcart (Alexandra Daddario) are deeply in love but have been kept apart for years by forces beyond their control. They come back into each other's lives at just the wrong moment, a whirlwind of violence swirling around them, as they prepare to marry and leave the country. A Rathcart flunkie, Terrence (Justin Chatwin), is obsessed with Mary and will stop at nothing, even murder, to win her. But an assassin named Wayne (Travis Fimmel), who's in the middle of his own tragic love story, also comes into the picture. Can the loving couple survive long enough to earn their happy ending?
Is It Any Good?
For all of its colorful characters and attempts at comic book coolness, this violence-infused, star-crossed romance ultimately feels even less than lightweight. It feels as if it's about nothing at all. Notable for having been named to the Hollywood "Black List" in 2010 -- a list of the best unproduced screenplays -- Die in a Gunfight seems as if it perhaps read better in print form than it plays out on the screen. One of the best characters, Mukul (Wade Allain-Marcus), is the Mercutio equivalent, loyal to Ben's Romeo. He has some wonderful line readings, almost musical, and yet none of them really come to anything. He's not even relevant to the story.
Another great character is Wayne (Fimmel), whose partner in crime is Barbie (Emmanuelle Chriqui). He has some wonderfully intense moments, far more powerful than anything in the main story, and yet he feels marginalized. At least Daddario brings a wide-eyed excitement to her character, as Mary begins to hope for the future and to believe that happiness is possible. Otherwise, Die in a Gunfight attempts to do the same thing that Romeo + Juliet did far better in 1996, and ultimately feels irrelevant. As likable as it sometimes is, it comes across as a vague outline of Shakespeare's play, with place markers instead of plot turns.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about Die in a Gunfight's violence. How did it make you feel? Was it exciting? Shocking? What did the movie show or not show to achieve this effect? Why is that important?
How are alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs depicted? Does the movie make them look cool? Are there any consequences shown? Why does that matter?
How is sex depicted? Are there positive emotions involved? What values are imparted?
How does the movie compare to Romeo and Juliet? What characters or situations are similar? How are they different?
What do you think the ending means? Did Ben learn anything? If so, what?
- In theaters: July 16, 2021
- On DVD or streaming: July 16, 2021
- Cast: Alexandra Daddario, Diego Boneta, Justin Chatwin
- Director: Collin Schiffli
- Inclusion Information: Latinx actors
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 92 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: violence, language and drug use
- Last updated: October 8, 2022
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