A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Mixed messages. Celebrates loyalty, camaraderie, honor, service, and sacrifice of those serving in the military. Politicians are corrupt and morally repugnant; they'll hang anyone out to dry to save their careers or further a country's purported political needs.
Positive Role Models
Childers and Hodges are honorable men, tested in battle, and both have served their country long and well. Prosecutor Biggs is slick and adept at working the system but also is honorable and refuses to further the political aims of the court-martial. The head of the National Security Agency and the ambassador who was rescued are traitorous and willing to lie and cover up evidence to save their own careers and to further what they see as the country's political needs.
Violence & Scariness
Combat scenes show heavy gunfire; graphic depictions of those being shot; blood and gore spraying, spattering, and spurting. Many gory, bloody depictions of the wounded and dead include women, children, and elderly men as well as soldiers. A POW is executed by a gunshot to the head; his body and bloody wound are shown. A mob throws rocks and Molotov cocktails, storms a building with a battering ram, and fires on the building with guns. An extended fistfight with punches and kicks shows bloody injuries to the face.
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"Motherf--ker," "s--t," "dammit," "f--k," "bulls--t," "ass," "f--king," "goddamn."
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Products & Purchases
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A party in a bar shows a large crowd with drinks. Hodges and Childers drink hard alcohol once each when they're upset; the only consequence is they get in a fistfight with each other that ends in laughter.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Rules of Engagement shows intense depictions of combat with a lot of graphic, gory gunshot wounds. There are many gory, bloody depictions of the injured and dead that include women and children as well as soldiers. Profanity is strong and frequent, mostly variations of "f--k," "s--t," and "damn." There is some drinking as well. End titles explaining what became of the main characters may make it seem like a true story; it's not. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT presents extreme graphic violence designed to shock and horrify, and it certainly succeeds in doing that. Unfortunately, even older teens who can handle the gore and prolific swearing won't be left with much to think about. The strong cast is serviceable but never really transcendent. The plot provides a lot of tension, and there's a fair amount of suspense over Childers' fate, but it isn't enough to sustain interest. The story takes on a lot: a disastrous battle in Vietnam, a rescue mission in Yemen gone bad, a long-term friendship, an investigation, a court-martial, politicians saving their careers. But the attempt to provide breadth only shortchanges depth and leaves the viewer mainly frustrated by the sense that there was a better movie in there somewhere.
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.