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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
In a small way, movie champions doing the right thing and facing the consequences. It also values family, as a character is chastised for choosing work over his daughter's birthday party. But major focus is revenge and violence.
Positive Role Models
Late in the movie, it's explained why Orlando is no longer a hacker and is working a soul-draining job answering phones: He chose to do the right thing and paid the price for it. He keeps trying to fight for good, but he struggles between working and spending time with his family.
Women characters all seem like afterthoughts; they're in the background, and none have agency. The one Black character of note is a member of the bomb squad who's partnered with Mel Gibson's character and (spoiler alert) dies heroically halfway through the movie, leaving nothing but White men.
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Violence & Scariness
Bombs and explosions. Deaths, dead bodies. Guns and shooting. Woman knocked unconscious. Building on fire.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Jokey, sex-related dialogue (references to "Cialis," "prison bitch," etc.).
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Strong, frequent language includes "f--k," "motherf----r," "c--ksucker," "bulls--t," "a--hole," "p---y," "goddamn," "bitch," "son of a bitch," "ass," "hell," "damn," "oh my God," "shut up," "idiot," "cheese d--k." "Jesus" used as an exclamation. Middle-finger gesture.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Hot Seat is an action thriller about a former hacker (Kevin Dillon) who's held hostage via a bomb strapped to his office chair and forced to do an anonymous terrorist's bidding. Mel Gibson co-stars as a member of the bomb squad. It's not a bad idea, but it's executed without much skill or imagination. Violence includes bombs and explosions, guns and shooting, deaths and dead bodies, a woman getting knocked unconscious, a building on fire, and more. Language is strong and frequent, with uses of "f--k," "motherf----r," "c--ksucker," "bulls--t," "a--hole," and more. There are a few jokey sexual references ("Cialis," "prison bitch," etc.). To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
A not-bad idea for a low-budget, mostly one-set suspense story turns into a rushed, generic movie, cutting corners and missing potential at every turn, eventually disappearing from memory. A variation on movies like Speed or Die Hard with a Vengeance, Hot Seat suffers off the bat from a lack of kinetic movement, given that it's about not moving. Director James Cullen Bressack finds a kind of middling pace, coupled with shaky-cam filming and twitchy editing that isn't slow enough to generate suspense or quick enough to pump adrenaline; it just sort of elicits a numbness.
It doesn't help that Dillon isn't the most dynamic actor. He has an abrasive, streetwise jester quality -- used to good effect in the series Entourage -- that wears thin when he's in the spotlight. The other actors don't quite seem right either. The villainous voice in the speaker has no subtlety, no control. He just curses and barks and says clichéd things like "Tick tock! Tick tock!" The hostage, Ava, is more of a supermodel than an actor, and she can't even seem to suggest that she's scared. Gibson, of course, with his "old guy" wisecracking persona, is the only one who manages to look like he's having fun. Alas, his partner, a Black man, is one of the first characters to die, which is an insufferable cliché. All in all, this Hot Seat is sure to leave viewers cold.
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.