A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Rev is a 2020 action movie in which an arrested car thief becomes an informant for the police as they try to bring down an international crime syndicate. The movie is mostly centered on stealing cars, especially high-end luxury sports cars, and through voice-over, the lead character shares his memories of being a teenage car thief, then shares his advice on how to steal cars. Carjacking occurs in one scene. The lead character's boss hits a guy on the head with a bottle at a nightclub for dancing with his girlfriend, then proceeds to kick him repeatedly. A man is beaten up in a parked car. One of the co-leaders of a crime ring extracts information from a rival by using a drill; it's implied that he drills his penis (not shown). A lead character ogles the rear end of his boss's girlfriend after having sex with her. There's frequent profanity, including "f--k" used on a regular basis. Viewers also see drug use in a club as well as marijuana and cigarette smoking.
What's the story?
In REV, Mikey quits his dead-end job in a computer repair store in Toronto to make real money as a thief for a car-stealing crime ring. While good at what he does, Mikey's fortunes take a nosedive after he gets busted trying to steal a 1965 Shelby GT Cobra, one that belongs to a cop, no less. In the interrogation room, Mikey is given an ultimatum by Detective Reid (Vivica A. Fox): face a long prison sentence, or become an informant and help bring down a local car-stealing ring with ties to an international crime syndicate. Mikey reluctantly agrees to turn informant, and soon gets in the good graces of Charlie, the leader of the criminal enterprise. While Mikey soon becomes Charlie's right-hand man, he faces distrust from Charlie's business partner, and the seductive charms of Charlie's girlfriend. Mikey soon discovers that the enterprise is getting into activities involving drug smuggling with the West African crime bosses they've been shipping their luxury vehicles. As the police close in, Mikey must choose which side he's on.
Is it any good?
This movie manages to pull off the almost impressive trick of not containing even one single original idea in its played-out premise. Essentially, Rev is a trite mishmash of various fast-driving action movies of the last 20 years, and if you can't guess the movies, don't worry, because the characters are happy to oblige by directly name-checking them. The women are basically sex objects, and they try to add depth to the lead female character by giving her the ability to drift a sports car on a racetrack. There are "authoritative and world-wise" voice-overs from the lead character about the ins and outs of stealing luxury automobiles. The bad guys are almost likable, until they do something psychotic that reminds you that they're bad guys.
While action movie characters aren't expected to have much depth, there's outright laziness in having the lead character, after expressing some remorse over sleeping with his boss's girlfriend and fretting over how he'll be murdered by his boss if he ever finds out, dismiss these worries with the cliché "That ass, though." Every character is nothing more than a type seen in so many other action movies, and every scene produces a strong sense of déjà vu in anyone who has ever seen certain action movies directed by Michael Bay or starring Vin Diesel. Even the most die-hard action movie fan is likely to sprain their optic nerves from all the eye-rolling.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about clichés in movies. What are some of the clichés in Rev that are seen in so many other action movies centered on fast cars and crime?
How are women generally represented in this movie?
Do you think the movie glamorizes car stealing? Do you think audiences can separate an antihero bragging of his exploits from reality?
- On DVD or streaming: May 12, 2020
- Cast: Vivica A. Fox, Francesco Filice, Sean Rey
- Director: Ant Horasanli
- Studio: Grindstone Entertainment
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Cars and Trucks
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: Language throughout, some violence and drug content.
- Last updated: May 29, 2020
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