Parents' Guide to

Savage Salvation

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Ultra-violent actioner has no saving grace; drugs, swearing.

Movie R 2022 101 minutes
Savage Salvation Movie Poster

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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.

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