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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
No clearly positive messages in this arbitrary drama. In some minor way, however, the movie does show that training and practicing can help make perfect.
Positive Role Models
The movie has many flaws -- and flawed characters. But it succeeds in offering an empathetic portrayal of a transgender character. She's depicted as being just like anyone else who has quirks, feelings, failures, and successes, rather than as any kind of "other."
Violence & Scariness
Attempted rape. Character pummels rapist (his punches land off-screen). Blood stains on clothing. Muay Thai boxing match with punching and kicking. Fight trainer with bruised face. Threats.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A man shaves his private area; naked bottom shown. Kissing. Sex-related dialogue. Revealing outfits. Flirting.
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Uses of "f--k," "motherf----r," "s--t," "bulls--t," "t-ts," "hell," "goddamn," "shut up," "freak," "nuts." A song on the soundtrack includes many uses of "f--k" and "motherf----r."
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Products & Purchases
A shopping sequence includes stops in several high-end stores, like Gucci, Prada, etc.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Character does drugs/pills at a party. Character gets very drunk in a club; bodyguard escorts her out. Social drinking in bars and at dinner. Cigarette smoking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Haymaker is the story of a Muay Thai boxer (Nick Sasso, who also wrote and directed) who becomes a bodyguard for a pop star (Nomi Ruiz, aka Jessica 6). It includes an attempted rape, violent punching, and some blood stains. The pop star kisses two men, the bodyguard shaves his privates (his naked bottom is shown), and there's sex-related dialogue, revealing outfits, and flirting. Language includes many uses of "f--k," "motherf----r," "bulls--t," "s--t," and more. The pop star takes pills/drugs and drinks heavily; there's also social drinking in bars and at dinner and some cigarette smoking. While it has a neat neo-noir look, the storytelling and Sasso's performance are dreadfully flat. But on the plus side, it offers an empathetic portrayal of a transgender character. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This good-looking action/drama, casually paced and set against intriguing, late-night backdrops, is unfortunately a total flatline in terms of story and characters, with the exception of Ruiz. Visual FX veteran Sasso makes his writing, directing, and acting debut with Haymaker; he also produced, edited, and -- yes -- provided the film's effects. His strength is certainly in the visuals, and he cooks up a slick, lush, neo-noir atmosphere in locations set all over the world. It's reminiscent of old MTV music videos or quietly obscure 1980s movies like Choose Me and Mona Lisa.
Sasso apparently had enough pull to assemble a fun supporting cast, including D.B. Sweeney, Udo Kier, John Ventimiglia, Veronica Falcón, and stunt coordinator Zoë Bell. But that's about where the good stuff ends. Haymaker's story doesn't have any dramatic or emotional pull. Nick decides to take the job guarding Nomi after only a second's hesitation, and his decision to return to fighting seems equally arbitrary. And Sasso is stiff in the role of Nick. Although he pulls off the fight scenes well enough, he comes off as robotic and blank in the other scenes that require him to be human. Happily, Ruiz makes the most of her role, even if it does revolve around a series of pop-star clichés. She has star power to burn, and there's never any doubt that she'd be a phenomenon.
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.