A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Guns Akimbo is an action comedy starring Daniel Radcliffe as an internet troll who wakes up to find guns bolted to his hands so he can participate in an online killing game. It's extremely, explicitly violent, with relentless guns, shooting, spurting blood, and killing, as well as fighting and punching, chases, explosions, severed fingers, and more. There's also a strong cynicism and depictions of hate and bullying. Language is also extremely strong and constant; expect to hear "f--k," "s--t," "c--k," "p---y," and much more. A man's penis is briefly shown, and a couple kisses. One main character snorts cocaine; another drinks several beers and gets drunk. Crack is mentioned, and pot smoking is shown. Prior to its release, the movie's director, Jason Lei Howden, made controversial remarks on Twitter around the use of a racist term, which may spur some viewers to avoid the movie. But others may find cult classic-style entertainment value here.
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What's the story?
In GUNS AKIMBO, Miles (Daniel Radcliffe) works for an unscrupulous video game company and spends all his free time on social media, trolling the trolls. One night he finds a brutal online game, Skizm, where the deadly Nix (Samara Weaving) battles challengers to the death. Miles' comments draw the attention of Skizm kingpin Riktor (Ned Dennehy). Then Riktor and his minions show up at Miles' apartment and knock him unconscious. When Miles wakes up, he has guns bolted to each of his hands. Worse, his ex-girlfriend, Nova (Natasha Liu Bordizzo), whom he still loves, has been kidnapped, and now Miles must play the game against Nix.
Is it any good?
This very busy, cynical, anxious dark comedy offers surface commentary about the evils of the internet, but eventually Radcliffe and Weaving manage to add some welcome humanity to the story. Unfortunately, Guns Akimbo is somewhat tainted by the controversial online behavior of its writer-director, Jason Lei Howden. But those who can separate the movie from these events may find something worthwhile. Its first section starts like a staccato attack, with a torrent of foul language, violence, noise, rage, and cynicism -- as well as frequent, ugly shots of death-obsessed viewers watching and cheering the online killings (which will definitely be a turn-off for some).
During this time, Miles comes across like a slothful, uncaring jerk, and Nix is a drugged-up, unrepentant killing machine. But after a while, the movie slows down a little and gives both characters a chance to come to life. And, amazingly, they both become likable, especially after they decide to team up against a greater foe. Guns Akimbo is shot and edited like a rollercoaster: It's quite sadistic and insanely violent and vulgar, and it won't be for every taste. But a small cult audience (say, viewers who liked things like Crank, Crank: High Voltage, and Hardcore Henry) may find Guns Akimbo similarly entertaining.
Talk to your kids about ...
The movie portrays the internet as a place of cynicism, hate, voyeurism, and bullying. How does this reflect your experience of the internet? What are the good things about it?
The movie seems to suggest that it's good to have guns so you'll be ready in case something bad happens. Do you agree or disagree? Why?
What happened in real life with director Jason Lei Howden and Twitter? How was cyberbullying involved?
- In theaters: February 28, 2020
- On DVD or streaming: April 28, 2020
- Cast: Daniel Radcliffe, Samara Weaving, Natasha Liu Bordizzo
- Director: Jason Lei Howden
- Studio: Saban Films
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 95 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong bloody violence throughout, pervasive language, drug use, sexual references and brief graphic nudity
- Last updated: April 27, 2020
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