Movie review by
Brian Costello, Common Sense Media
Seized Movie Poster Image
Nonstop violence, some nudity in cookie-cutter action movie.
  • R
  • 2020
  • 85 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

A father tries to instill in his son the value that violence isn't the answer to conflict resolution, but everything in between the beginning and the end is nonstop violence. 

Positive Role Models

No positive role models in this shoot-em-up action movie. 


Violence throughout. Lead character uses machine guns, guns, knives, and his fists and feet to kill dozens of bad guys. Characters shot and killed at point-blank range. Stabbings in the throat. At times, the point of view of the lead character is similar to that of a first-person shooter game. Tween comes home from school with bruises on his face after fighting with bullies. 


Topless nudity in a strip club. Some sexual innuendo. 


Profanity often used. "F--k" and "motherf---er" used. Also: "s--t, "bulls--t," "a--hole," "damn," "son of a bitch," "d--khead," "ass," "crap." Spanish profanity as well. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Wine, booze, beer, champagne drinking at a get-together of the bad guys watching the good guy go on a killing spree on the host's television. Drugs play a role in the story.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Seized is a 2020 action movie in which Scott Adkins plays a former Special Forces agent whose son has been kidnapped by the leader of a drug syndicate. In order to rescue his son, the lead character must go on three missions that take out the drug syndicate leader's enemies, and as such, there's near-constant action movie violence from beginning to end. Lead character uses assault rifles, machine guns, guns, knives, and his fists and feet to do the killing. Characters shot in the head and point-blank range, characters stabbed in the throat; blood. Lead character has a camera on his chest, and in some scenes, the killing is similar to how it's shown in a first-person shooter game. Scenes in a strip club show topless strippers. Frequent profanity, including "f--k" and "motherf---er." Other language includes "s--t, "bulls--t," "a--hole," "damn," "son of a bitch," "d--khead," "ass," and "crap." A tween boy comes home with bruises on his face after getting into fights with bullies. Ironically, all of this violence is bookended by the lead character lecturing his son on seeking nonviolent solutions to problems. 

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What's the story?

In SEIZED, Richard (Scott Adkins) runs a security consulting business in Mexico, trying to raise his tween son Taylor after the untimely death his mother. After another argument with the moody Taylor, Richard sits down to work in his home when a dart bursts through the window, hitting his neck and knocking him unconscious. He awakens to his phone ringing, and on the other end is a man who calls Richard "Nero," which was his name when he was a Special Forces agent. This man has taken Taylor hostage in a room with a tube coming through the wall that will fill with carbon monoxide unless Nero does exactly what the man tells him to do. This man, Mzamo Lescano (Mario Van Peebles), is the head of a crime syndicate, and is blackmailing Nero into carrying out three missions in order to destroy Mzamo's rivals, so that Mzamo can be the last man standing. Nero has a camera on his chest that he must wear at all times, so that Mzamo and his henchmen can watch Nero undertake each mission. As Nero completes each mission, he's determined to rescue his son, and discover who it is that has kidnapped Taylor and forced him to do Mzamo's dirty work. 

Is it any good?

This is a cookie-cutter action movie that's as violent as it is ludicrous. Not that anyone would be going into a movie like Seized expecting anything rooted in realism, but the scenes here make Chuck Norris movies look like documentary films. The injuries our hero sustains over the course of a sleepless night and the next day of taking out cartel bad guys and their henchmen heal in roughly the same amount of time it takes for the average person to brush the plaque off their teeth. Handcuffs can break if there's enough willpower and any solid object to rub the links against. And in case the cliche of the camera on the hero's chest isn't obvious enough, the bad guy makes sure to use "Call of Duty" as a verb when explaining the need for the camera. 

In what is the movie's greatest irony, our hero, at the beginning and end of the movie, preaches to his son that "not everything has solved by violence." This bookends an hour of mass shooting, stabbing, punching, kicking, etc. It's frankly terrible. But managed expectations make this the kind of action movie perfect for those who want to turn off the logical parts of their brains and watch something mindlessly entertaining after a long week.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about action movies. How does Seized compare to other action movies you've seen?

  • Did the violence seem gratuitous and overblown, or was it necessary for the story? Why?

  • Does an action movie have to be "realistic" to be entertaining? Why or why not? 

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action

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