A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie opens with an interesting line: "Everyone asks me how many people I've killed ... nobody ever asks me how many people I've saved." That's an idea that's worth thinking about, but so many people die here that the message becomes muddled. It's also worth thinking about the fact that two very different groups of people are pursuing the same person, for different reasons, and both using extreme violence to meet their goal. It's possible that the movie intended some kind of commentary on this contradiction, but it's not clear.
Positive Role Models
Navy SEALs are usually impressive figures, but the destruction here is so vast that it's hard to end up cheering for anyone. The main character survives through skill and endurance, but his wake of violence is nothing to be admired.
Central woman character who is strong but (spoiler alert) doesn't make it. A few supporting characters are Black, but they're all killed in brutal ways. The main character, who's onscreen most of the time, is a White male.
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Violence & Scariness
Lots of guns/shooting. Many characters are killed. Blood spurts. Grenades and explosions. A suicide bomber causes a huge explosion. A person "dies," with a close-up on their face. Characters are shot in the head and impaled by huge piece of wood. Many characters are stabbed Hand-to-hand fighting. Choking. Bloody wounds, bruises. Images of imprisoned terrorists, hanging by wrists, tortured with hoses, bags over heads. Dialogue about "dirty bomb."
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Strong language includes many uses of "f--k" and "s--t," plus "bulls--t," "ass," "damn," "bastard," "crap," "screw up," "Jesus Christ."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Brief reference to drinking beer. Character smokes a cigarette (after earlier dialogue about trying to quit).
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that One Shot is a violent action/military rescue movie that's presented as if it were filmed in one long, continuous take. It's technically impressive but narratively monotonous; it's mostly shooting, killing, and shouting. Expect lots of guns and shooting, many deaths, blood spurts, gory wounds, grenades/explosions, knives and stabbing, hand-to-hand fighting, choking, etc. Characters get shot in the head and impaled by a chunk of wood, and a person "dies" in close-up, on camera. There are images of imprisoned terrorists hanging by their wrists and being tortured with hoses with bags over their heads. Language is very strong, with many uses of "f--k," "s--t," and more. A man smokes a cigarette after dialogue about trying to quit, and there's talk about drinking beer. Ryan Phillippe and Scott Adkins star. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Presented in what appears to be a single long take, this action movie is expertly and impressively choreographed; too bad the same attention wasn't given to the dull story or flat characters. Following in the one-shot tradition of Silent House, Birdman, Bushwick, and 1917, One Shot begins in an aloft helicopter and follows its characters into office buildings and through a battlefield with characters hiding behind storage sheds, convenient arrangements of metal barrels, and stacks of wooden crates. It feels very much like a video game; it's impossible not to be aware that all of these pieces have been built this way, that every obstacle and shield has been placed on purpose.
Like a video game, the movie can even get your adrenaline going with its unpredictable violence. But even a video game has a story; it has levels, side-quests, and other things designed to create an experience. One Shot is pretty much more than an hour of shooting, explosions, blood spurts, characters hitting the ground, and little else (except for lots of banal shouted dialogue). One crucial story element is withheld, for no reason, until nearly the end, when it could have prevented all the trouble if it had been mentioned earlier. The movie seems to care little about things like this -- or about its human characters, who die dispassionately, without any feeling. It's too bad the colossal amount of work put into setting all of this up led to such a monotonous movie.
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.