A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Messages seem to justify vigilante murders.
Positive Role Models
Law enforcement is portrayed as patient, cool-headed, and in control.
A woman deputy and her partner have a solid, respectful relationship. And a Black pastor is a positive recurring minor character. But the film's other characters of color are largely depicted as violent criminals and drug dealers. Ruby Red is rarely fully dressed, and her only dimension is being beautiful; even the strongest women characters here are portrayed as being subservient to men.
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Violence & Scariness
Excessive graphic violence: Main character goes on vengeful killing spree that's intended to make audiences cheer. Nail gun used as a deadly weapon. Character crucified. Arm cut off by electric saw. Assault rifles, pistols, and machine guns used, including at close range. Physical fights with punches, kicks, bites. Dead bodies. Fatal overdoses.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Romance between an engaged couple, with passionate kisses and affectionate gestures: They're shown having sex with their clothes on in one scene; in another, holding each other in a bathtub. In most of her scenes, a love interest wears only lingerie or underwear. A character is uncomfortably affectionate with a corpse.
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Pervasive strong language includes "ass," "a--hole," "bitch," "d--k," "s--t," and frequent use of "f--k."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Plot revolves around opioid epidemic. Characters are shown repeatedly prepping and shooting up heroin. In one scene, two characters shoot up together in a somewhat romanticized way. Fatal overdoses. A group of aspirational young adults is shown partying; alcohol and drugs are a part of the scene.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Savage Salvation is a graphically violent action movie with faith-based elements. It's about a vigilante (Jack Huston) who aims to stop the opioid epidemic that's destroying his town by killing those involved in the syndicate. Scripture is quoted throughout, with one verse -- "Blessed are the peacekeepers for they are the sons of God" -- used to justify a murderous rage. Intentionally shocking violence includes chainsawing off a limb, use of extreme assault weapons, and a villain getting a nail through the eye before being crucified. In theory, this is an anti-drug movie, and yet drug use is glamorized, with the "hero" couple lovingly shooting up together (this is shown explicitly on several occasions). Even overdosing carries some appeal when the corpse of a dead drug abuser is celebrated for her beauty. Expect scenes with passionate kisses and fully clothed sex. Love interest Ruby Red (Willa Fitzgerald) is almost always shown in her underwear. Pervasive strong language includes "bitch," "s--t," and "f--k"). Robert De Niro and John Malkovich co-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?
Director Randall Emmett's twisted attempt to imbue faith-based elements into a guns-and-glory vigilante action movie is appalling. Scripture is quoted throughout, and an extremely violent, rage-filled killing spree is biblically justified. A haunting version of "Amazing Grace" plays behind a slo-mo action sequence that sees the "good guy" blowing away baddies. And scenes involving baptism and crucifixion are warped and disturbing. Perhaps Emmett was trying to broaden the film's appeal with elements that would help it cross over into other markets, but the opportunistic pandering is obvious, and some may even see it as blasphemous. Ultimately, it's hard to say whether this is supposed to be a faith-based film or not, but it's likely people of faith would prefer that it's not.
While director of photography Eric Koretz is definitely talented, the entire shoot exemplifies the male gaze at its worst. Ruby Red is rarely fully dressed, and her only dimension is being beautiful -- even when in various unappealing conditions -- and she needs the strength of her man to cope. Even the strongest women characters are subservient to men, including when Ruby's mother expresses her dismay that Shelby didn't come to her to ask for Ruby's hand in marriage, and he sharply puts her in her place. And while characters involved in the movie's drug trafficking operation are multiracial, the ones who are brutally evil are all people of color. The only thing that doesn't disappoint is co-star John Malkovich, who can always be counted on to overdeliver.
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.