A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Marauders is a 2016 action thriller in which Christopher Meloni plays an FBI agent trying to find out who's behind a series of violent bank heists. Expect plenty of violence. The bank thieves wield high-powered assault rifles and shotguns, and use them to kill or injure FBI agents, security guards, and bank managers, among others Characters shot and killed in the forehead and throat -- blood. Stabbing in the throat. Lead character attempts suicide by sticking a gun to his head while in his apartment. Talk of how the lead character's wife was brutally tortured and killed. Frequent profanity, including "f--k" and "motherf---er." Some sexual innuendo in the workplace referencing the size of a woman's breasts, and the size of a suspect's "unit." Brief nudity -- female breasts. Cigarette smoking. Whiskey, wine, and beer drinking. The wife of one of the lead characters is shown in bed with terminal cancer.
What's the story?
In MARAUDERS, four masked and heavily-armed thieves rob three million dollars from the Hubert National Bank in Cincinnati and kill the bank's manager. FBI Special Agent Jonathan Montgomery (Christopher Meloni) is on the case, working with other agents as well as detectives in the Cincinnati Police Department that he suspects are dishonest and stealing money. The only fingerprint found in the robbery belongs to an Army Ranger thought to have been killed when he and his unit went rogue in Costa Rica by kidnapping the younger brother of the bank president, Jeffrey Hubert (Bruce Willis). Soon, more armed robberies take place in different Hubert Bank branches, and one of Hubert's security guards is brutally stabbed to death outside of the bank as one of the robberies happen. As Montgomery tries to figure out the larger conspiracy behind these robberies, he mourns the brutal death of his wife at the hands of a vicious drug lord, and while grieving to the point of sticking a gun to his head, he's contacted through his hacked computer by one of the thieves. Soon, as Montgomery begins to discover who's behind these armed robberies and why, he must unravel the blurred lines between who's on his side, and who's working against him.
Is it any good?
In spite of its cliches in character and plot twists, of which there are many, Marauders is still an engaging action movie. This is primarily due to Christopher Meloni's performance as the proverbial "cynical and world-weary" FBI Special Agent in charge of stopping a squad of violent and heavily-armed bank thieves. It's almost like he's enjoying the opportunity to use so much profanity after years of being denied the privilege on Law & Order. There's an exuberance to what he brings to what could've easily been a stock character. As one of the agents working under Meloni's character, Dave Bautista also brings more to a character that's neither original nor requiring all that much effort beyond verbally hazing the new FBI agent on the team and making puns about sexual organs that even Beavis and Butthead would find incredibly dumb. That leaves Bruce Willis, whose portrayal of a corrupt bank president comes across as listless, flat, and uninspired.
The story itself becomes almost impossibly tangled, with threads that seem unresolved, and side stories that feel shoehorned in simply to give these abrasive protagonists a "human" side to justify their behaviors. The big "reveal" of the plot-twist isn't bad, even if, by the time it's revealed, we're more interested in stopping other bad guys. Most of it doesn't seem all that believable, but that's never stopped other contributions to the action movie genre, so there's no reason for Marauders to break this mold. There's action, there's some mystery as to who are the bad people behind the robberies, and, when not discussing the work of H.P. Lovecraft (and of course this is relevant to the mysteries in the movie) with Bruce Willis' character, Christopher Meloni curses like crazy.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about gun violence in movies. Did the gun violence seem necessary for the story, or were there times when it seemed to be excessive? Why?
Did the profanity seem necessary to convey a sense of realism in the way these law enforcement officers spoke with each other, or did it seem overdone and cliched? Why?
How was this similar to and different from other action movies? What makes an action movie enjoyable?
- In theaters: July 1, 2016
- On DVD or streaming: September 13, 2016
- Cast: Christopher Meloni, Bruce Willis, Dave Bautista
- Director: Steven C. Miller
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Genre: Thriller
- Run time: 107 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong violence, language, brief drug use and nudity.
- Last updated: August 21, 2021
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