Jiu Jitsu

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Jiu Jitsu Movie Poster Image
Ridiculous sci-fi has lots of martial arts fighting, blood.
  • R
  • 2020
  • 102 minutes

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 15+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

No real messages here other than conflict/fighting. Characters do more or less stand up to impossible odds, even if it ultimately feels silly and meaningless.

Positive Role Models

Several main characters are trained warriors who go headlong into battle to protect humanity. They don't exactly behave nobly; they're more full of swagger and bravado. A Black character is shown as a somewhat comical coward (although he does provide one of the final pieces necessary to defeat the villain).


Heavy, over-the-top martial arts fighting. Guns and shooting. Bloody wounds. Blood sprays (via fake-looking digital effects). Stabbing with blades and swords. Neck slicing. Alien burns people. Woman hit by throwing star. Grenade explosion. Deaths.


Flirting -- i.e., telling eye contact as a woman helps a man adjust his armor.


Use of "s--t," "bulls--t," "son of a bitch," "ass," "hell," "crap," "stupid," and "shut up," plus exclamatory use of "oh my God," "Jesus." Middle-finger gestures.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Cigarette smoking. Someone asks, "Who wants a drink?"

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Jiu Jitsu is an action movie starring Nicolas Cage about a group of warriors who must defeat an alien that emerges from a space portal. Violence is fantastical/comic-book style but pretty graphic, with martial arts fighting, guns and shooting, stabbing and slicing, blood sprays/bloody wounds, and explosions. Some characters die, and the alien seems to be able to burn people with his touch. Language includes "s--t," "bulls--t," "son of a bitch," "ass," and more. Cage's character smokes cigarettes in more than one scene, and a character asks, "Who wants a drink?" Sex isn't an issue, but a woman appears to be flirting with a man while she adjusts his battle armor. It's all pretty silly, with some frankly nauseating action scenes, but it might be fun enough to win over certain "so bad, it's good" movie fans.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byHanoth April 24, 2021

I think Nick is taking drugs again.

5/5 - let's con everyone else into watching this movie. Clearly Nick needs money for rehab again.
Adult Written byAsher Mayer December 6, 2020
Kid, 11 years old April 8, 2021

I would've given this 0 stars but there was no option

This movie is just straight-up lame. Nicolas Cage did okay i guess, but the rest is really confusing and boring. The action "hero" runs every single t... Continue reading

What's the story?

In JIU JITSU, Jake Barnes (Alain Moussi) runs through the forest, pursued by some kind of unknown force. He jumps from a cliff, crashes into the water, and hits his head on a rock. When he comes to, he's in a military outpost. He's questioned by Myra (Marie Avgeropoulos) but can't remember anything. Before long, he's abducted by a band of martial artists -- including Harrigan (Frank Grillo), Kueng (Tony Jaa), and Carmen (JuJu Chan) -- who seem to remember him. He also encounters the hermit Wylie (Nicolas Cage), who tells him what's going on: Every six years, a comet passes over that opens a portal, and from the portal emerges an alien. This alien must battle nine warriors, or else it will destroy the world. Can Jake get his head back in the game and help save the world?

Is it any good?

With its preposterous story, bizarre action sequences, and performances in wildly varying pitches, this action movie is, at best, a candidate for so-bad-it's-good status. To start, the alien villain in Jiu Jitsu just doesn't make any sense. If he's beaten every six years, why does he keep coming back? Not to mention that the alien himself is just a guy in a suit with a mask-screen that plays different images. He's not particularly scary or even interesting. Then, the amnesia idea makes not the slightest bit of difference in the story. There's no reason for Jake to have lost his memory other than perhaps to stretch a five-minute idea into a longer movie.

Director Dimitri Logothetis, who seems intent on making Jiu Jitsu into a new franchise, films the action sequences with a nauseating skip-frame technique that makes everything seem twitchy, like a strobe effect. And the action switches randomly back and forth from slo-mo to regular time, which somehow makes things even less exciting. Even worse, the cameras are sometimes mounted on the actors, making for an even more disorienting sensation. The performances range from emotionless and muted to barking and shouting, but none can match Cage, who these days seems to be cast in movies just so he can provide another of his trademark "unhinged" characters. At least he seems to be having fun. He may be the only one.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Jiu Jitsu's violence. How strong is it? Does it feel exciting or shocking? What does the movie show or not show to achieve this effect? What's the impact of media violence on kids?

  • What's the appeal of martial arts movies? Is it the violence? The graceful, poetic movements? A combination of both?

  • How is Carmen represented? Is she her own person, or is she there to "support" the male characters?

  • How are non-White cultures represented? Are stereotypes involved?

  • Is cigarette smoking glamorized? Are there consequences for smoking? Why does that matter?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action and sci-fi

Themes & Topics

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