Jarhead 2: Field of Fire

Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
Jarhead 2: Field of Fire Movie Poster Image
Graphic violence, language in Afghanistan war movie sequel.
  • R
  • 2014
  • 103 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Loyalty, honor, valor, love of country, camaraderie, sacrifice, teamwork shown in the actions of the characters. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The movie shows the bravery, sacrifice, and patriotism of those in the military who have fought in Afghanistan, and the camaraderie between Marines. Characters learn to move beyond stereotypes of the Afghan people. One of the lead characters is a female Afghan leader whose life is under constant threat for speaking out against the Taliban's actions toward women attaining higher education. 

Violence

Constant and intense war violence. A soldier's leg gets shot off by enemy fire -- blood, severed leg shown as the man dies. In a flashback scene, a tween Afghan girl is shot in the head at point-blank range by a member of the Taliban. Fighting with assorted military hardware throughout, hand-to-hand combat with knives, punches, kicks. Guerilla attack by Taliban forces kills many of the main characters. 

Sex

Soldiers joke amongst themselves about sex, including a scene in which male soldiers joke with the one female soldier about how each of them shaves their respective pubic hair. Brief, nonsexual nudity: male buttocks. Male characters try to hit on one of the female characters during a party in the "Green Zone." 

Language

Nearly every profanity in the book is used. "F--k" frequently used. "Motherf--er" used. One of the lead characters frequently uses a derogatory term toward Afghan characters, but grows to respect and appreciate the Afghan soldier fighting in his unit. 

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Soldiers drink alcohol and beer at a party in the "Green Zone." 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Jarhead 2: Field of Fire is a 2014 war movie in which a Marine supply contingent stationed in Afghanistan must help a Navy SEAL escort a dissident Afghan out of the country. This is a sequel in name only, having nothing to do with the 2005 original Jarhead movie. Unsurprisingly, there's war violence throughout the movie, including a scene in which an American soldier's leg is blown off by enemy fire in the middle of a pitched battle -- blood, screaming, death. In a flashback scene, a young girl is shot in the head at point-blank range by a Taliban fighter. Fighting with firearms of all types, explosions, stabbings, punches, and kicks. Pretty much every profanity in the book is used, including "f--k" on a regular basis, and "motherf---er" a few times. Soldiers use a derogatory term to describe the Afghan people, and a soldier in the Afghan army in particular who has joined the unit, but the soldiers who used the term the most grow to respect, admire, and appreciate the Afghan soldier. In order to pass the time, the Marines joke about how they shave their pubic hair, joking in particular with the only female in the contingent. Brief nonsexual nudity: male buttocks. Some beer and alcohol drinking in a party situation on the base. 

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What's the story?

In JARHEAD 2: FIELD OF FIRE, Corporal Chris Merrimette (Josh Kelly) is sent on his first mission as a team leader. He's to lead his contingent of tight-knit Marines through some of the most dangerous Taliban-held territory in Afghanistan to resupply a remote outpost. Along the way, they're flagged down by Navy SEAL Special Ops Fox (Cole Hauser), who enlists them on a mission of international importance. Fox is escorting Anoosh, an Afghan dissident woman who has become a symbol of resistance to the Taliban, to safety so she can give a speech at the United Nations. But the mission takes a terrible turn when Merrimette and his fellow Marines are ambushed by Taliban forces, resulting in casualties and no way to get back to the Green Zone except by walking. Now, Merrimmette, who has only been involved in supply missions up to this point, must trudge through "the most dangerous place on Earth" with no communication and no air support, and only Fox's experience with the land and its people to help them. 

Is it any good?

For a sequel having nothing to do with the original, this is a better-than-expected war movie. While Jarhead 2: Field of Fire definitely has quite a few of the tropes and cliches that have defined the war movie genre since at least World War II, the sense of a culture and espirit de corps among Marines comes through in ways far beyond simply saying "Semper Fi" and "Ooorah" on a regular basis. There's also an understanding that most audiences have long outgrown the fantasies of jingoistic '80s war movies where "the good guys" never die, and "the bad guys" die by the hundreds, particularly in a war American soldiers have been fighting for a generation. The movie doesn't shy away from the complications and casualties. 

That said, in spite of above average acting (for war movies) across the board and exciting battle scenes, the story itself is formulaic. Like horror movies, it doesn't take a genius to guess which characters are about to get killed. The closer we get to Act 3, the more the movie begins to channel its inner Rambo, relying more and more on shoot-em-up violence to bring the movie to the expected conclusion. Nonetheless, the movie defies its low expectations, providing some engaging moments and an earnest effort to present the bravery and honor of Marines without sugarcoating the horror of war. 

 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about war movies. How does Jarhead 2: Field of Fire compare to other war movies you've seen? 

  • Why do you think Hollywood would make a "sequel" to a movie that has very little to do with the original story and none of the original cast? 

  • What are some of the ways in which the movie tries to convey a realistic sense of Marine culture? 

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