A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this is a review of the movie in theaters and not the Director's Cut that's available on DVD. This violent sci-fi action movie is bloody, gory, and grim. A man kills a wounded comrade in arms at point-blank range; skulls are penetrated by monsters' inhuman claws; extensive swordplay means limbs and heads are lopped off with remarkable frequency -- and so on. Plus, the film's overall tone is bleak, with a resigned cynicism that both evokes the old-school war films and makes the film a bit of chore to watch. You can also expect constant strong language, some crude sex talk, smoking, and drinking.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In a far-flung future, the remnants of humanity toil -- and fight -- under the control of four major corporations. A battle unearths the hidden catacombs where, centuries ago, flesh-hungry mutants were successfully entombed after their rampage to destroy humanity was defeated. With the mutants now loose, a holy man assembles a rag-tag team of soldiers and experts to journey into the bowels of the Earth and destroy the infernal machine that turns men into blood-hungry monsters before the world is destroyed.
Is it any good?
Shot with a computer-aided technique that evokes the stylish look of films like Sin City and Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, MUTANT CHRONICLES has a high-tech look and style to spare. But the film's gory, tedious action makes it a bore. The melding of sci-fi ideas and retro-tough sensibility in the script (the team of soldiers is made up of cynics, survivors, and nihilists) also makes it tough to root for the suicide mission.
Director Simon Hunter's over-the-top violence and gore is also so excessive that it would almost be laughable if it weren't so grisly; the violence feels like a substitute for screenwriting and character development. Full of cliches and wholly unsurprising "surprises," Mutant Chronicles is dreary, dull, and shallow despite -- or perhaps because of -- its unrelenting gore.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about whether sci-fi/fantasy violence has more or less impact than other kinds of media violence. Why? What kinds of consequences do different types of violence have in movies and TV shows?
Families can also discuss how faith is portrayed in the movie, from its tagline ("Have faith") to the fact that the heroes are dispatched by a holy order of priests. Do you think the filmmakers are trying to send specific messages?
- In theaters: April 24, 2009
- On DVD or streaming: August 4, 2009
- Cast: Devon Aoki, Ron Perlman, Thomas Jane
- Director: Simon Hunter
- Studio: Magnet Releasing
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Run time: 111 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong bloody violence and language throughout
- Last updated: March 14, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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