Parents' Guide to

Embattled

By Monique Jones, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

MMA drama has lots of heart, fighting, and swearing.

Movie R 2020 117 minutes
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What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

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Embattled is a solid entry in the sports-drama subgenre. Fans of MMA fighting will have fun watching this story of a father and son coming to blows amid personal issues and psychological fears. Similar to how Rocky Balboa trained an underdog in an attempt to defeat the reigning boxing champion of the day, Mann's Jett trains his mind and body to defeat his father in a final battle. Jett is easy to root for, and viewers are likely to feel sympathy regarding his hardships concerning his father. Jett is also an empathetic older brother to Quinn (Colin McKenna), who has an unspecified mental disability but is played by an actor who has Williams syndrome. Quinn is actually one of the film's brighter spots, since we see him and his friends -- also played by actors with disabilities -- in nonstereotypical ways. This broadens the viewers' perception of what life is like for mentally disabled teenagers.

While Donald Faison doesn't need a wheelchair in real life, which could annoy some disabled viewers, his role as Quinn's high school teacher, Mr. Stewart, also brings brightness to the film, particularly regarding his relationship with Reaser's Susan. Tran also turns a stereotype on its head as Jade. Jade looks like a stereotypical "trophy wife," but she's really a woman who wants the best for herself and her son, even if that means leaving a wealthy man like Cash. In fact, many of the film's characters, major and minor, are genuinely good people, putting Cash's character into stark relief. This supports the film's main thesis: that money and power aren't the only things that matter in life.

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