A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
A father-son relationship is presented in an iffy way (the child is beaten up by bullies at school, and the father tries to "toughen him up" by taking him hunting, etc.). There's also a brief, somewhat veiled plea for affordable health insurance. Otherwise, violence and killing goes unpunished, and characters seem unaffected by violence.
Positive Role Models
Poorly drawn characters who seem selfish and prone to violence. For some characters, there are no consequences; for others, the consequence is death. Cast isn't particularly diverse.
Violence & Scariness
Guns and shooting (including a shooting lesson for a young boy). Characters are killed. Blood spurts/bloody wounds seen. Character is hit in face with rifle butt. Bullet dug out from bloody wound, which is then doctored. A child is in danger, held at knifepoint. A woman is kidnapped and tied up. Fighting. A boy is threatened by bullies at school. An adult and a young boy play a violent video game. A man (painfully) pulls his hand out of handcuffs. Fall from height.
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Many uses of "f--k" and "f--king." Also "motherf----r," "s--t," "bitch," "goddamn," "Jesus" (as an exclamation).
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Products & Purchases
A child plays with an iPod and mentions it by name.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that First Kill is a low-budget action thriller starring Bruce Willis and Hayden Christensen. While there's no sex or drinking/drug use, the movie has a lot of violence, much of it gun-related, with shooting, bloody wounds, blood spurts, and characters dying. There's also fighting, a boy being held at knifepoint, a woman getting kidnapped and tied up, and other upsetting scenes. Language is strong, too, with many uses of "f--k" in various permutations, plus "s--t," "bitch," and more. A child is bullied at school; his father attempts to "toughen him up" as a result. The movie briefly addresses bullies/bullying but doesn't offer any thoughtful conclusions. Overall, it's forgettable, and it seems unlikely that many teens will be interested. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Low-budget action movies don't have to be dull or uninspired, but this one sure is. The actors phone in their performances, playing characters who are blandly unaffected in any way by the silly plot. In First Kill, poor Willis is stuck in a supporting role as a cop with so little motivation it's laughable. But Christensen might have it even worse, giving an overcooked performance as an unlikable dad. When we first see him, he's yelling at someone on the phone, and then his idea to solve his son's bully problem is to "toughen him up," a troubling theme that's never resolved.
All the kidnapping and shooting doesn't seem to affect the characters at all, not even young Danny, who seems just fine after his ordeal. The only interesting part of First Kill is the bond between the kidnapper and the kid, which is the most tender, emotional thing in the movie (it's weirdly similar to the recent Austin Found), but it's so disconnected that it barely counts. Director Steven C. Miller (Extraction) puts it all together with wobbly hand-held cameras and choppy editing, leaving most of the action a forgettable blur. Only an ATV chase through the woods is worth looking at.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.