A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Outcast is a medieval adventure with lots of fighting and battles, mostly with swords and arrows, as well as some stabbing with knives, kicking, and head-butting. Some bloody wounds are shown, as well as blood-stained blades. Language is infrequent, but includes one use of "f--k," as well as "damn," "hell," and "piss." One main character uses opium, and viewers see his hazy point of view when he's high or withdrawing. The other main character drinks wine heavily. Two characters share an innocent first kiss. The movie is another example of star Nicolas Cage's puzzling career decline and ranks among the worst he's made. It's unlikely that many viewers of any age will be interested in this, unless they're fond of thinking of giving it a Mystery Science Theater 3000-style drubbing.
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What's the story?
In the 12th century, a Chinese ruler names his youngest son -- the kindly, bookish Zhao (Bill Su Jiahang) -- as his heir. The eldest son, brutal warlord Shing (Andy On), kills their father and blames the murder on Zhao, causing Zhao and his older sister, Lian (Liu Yifei), to flee. They take with them an important royal seal that Shing must retrieve. Thankfully, a lone, mysterious warrior (Hayden Christensen) happens along to help them escape the hordes of evil soldiers on their trail. Eventually the warrior finds his way back to his own master, known as "The White Ghost" (Nicolas Cage). Together they wage a final battle in hopes of restoring Zhao to the throne.
Is it any good?
A master storyteller might have been able to make something good out of the creaky OUTCAST, but Nick Powell, a stuntman making his directorial debut, is no master. Cage appears in less than a third of this stone-faced movie; for once, it could have used more of his loony acting. The filming is atrocious, with wobbly camera work and rat-a-tat-tat editing that often favors five separate shots when one would do fine. In one scene, a character dumps a bucket of water over his head; Powell shows it in three cuts, including one from inside the bucket.
Set in medieval times, the movie consists largely of fight scenes staged with modern-day techniques that look out of place and phony. Both Cage and Christensen perform their cringe-worthy dialogue in accents they can't quite manage and hairstyles that are distractingly odd. The movie's only attribute is that it's so bad it might benefit from a Mystery Science Theater 3000-style drubbing.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Outcast's violence. How did it affect you? How much is shown, or not shown? Which has more impact? Was all of the violence necessary to tell the story?
How are drug use (opium) and drinking depicted in the movie? Are the characters addicted? Why do they do it? Are there realistic consequences for their use?
How are characters from other cultures shown in this movie? From whose point of view is the story told? Are there stereotypes?
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