A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Themes of teamwork, brotherhood, loyalty are clear in solidarity that's maintained by childhood friends (friends prove willing to risk everything, including their livelihood, to help one of their own).
Positive Role Models
The unyielding commitment that Callahan, Snowball, Milk, and Jaeger all have for one another shows loyalty, perseverance, teamwork. But characters also have flaws and shortcomings that affect their decision-making, and the characters' unwavering commitment to loyalty leads to some iffy actions. While becoming a father figure to his troubled younger brother wasn't easy, Callahan looks out for his younger brother no matter what, even to a fault.
Violence & Scariness
Many disturbing images, some violence. War scenes with dismembered body parts; blood and gore as a result of wounds and explosions. Gun use: Men are shot during a war, a stand-off scene between two cops that ends with an arm being broken. Bathroom brawl in a bar includes a head injury that leads to a death. More fights and brawls.
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Extreme, constant swearing, especially "f--k." Other words include "s--t," "bulls--t," "d--k," and "Jesus Christ" (as an exclamation).
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adult drinking and cigarette smoking, and references to marijuana use. Drunken bar fight. A drunk adult recklessly walks into oncoming traffic. Several scenes of social/casual drinking, as well as emotional drinking in an attempt to soothe trauma.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Semper Fi is a mature but slow-paced action drama with themes of loyalty and being your "brother's keeper." Expect many intense scenes as well as emotionally heavy content. Violence and graphic images include war scenes, dismembered body parts, gun use, a bathroom brawl in a bar, and a few deaths. Language is also extremely salty, with constant use of "f--k" and other words. Characters drink and smoke cigarettes, there are references to pot use, and characters make poor decisions while drunk. Despite the movie's intense nature, characters are loyal and faithful (albeit sometimes to a fault); they clearly demonstrate teamwork and the ability to stick together through thick and thin. Ultimately, a troubled character has a breakthrough, and there's a silver lining in the end. Jai Courtney and Nate Wolff 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?
The tone of this gritty drama about brotherhood and sacrifice can be bleak and depressing, but the story doesn't shy away from depicting the mental and physical impact of returning home after war. It also shows how being raised in a broken home can leave emotional scars and demonstrates the hard sacrifices that older siblings sometimes have to make in order for their younger siblings to survive. Semper Fi deals with real life, and many of the scenes are gritty. Plus, it serves as commentary on corrupt cops who abuse and take advantage of inmates while they're in the prison system.
That said, the movie's extreme profanity overshadows what could have been a more nuanced storyline. And the pacing is really slow at the beginning -- but once the real action kicks in, everything that happens after makes the ending that much more poignant. That and the natural chemistry between Courtney, Knapp, Whittrock, Castro, and Wolff help redeem Semper Fi. The level of loyalty that the characters demonstrate toward one another during the tough times in their lives is inspirational. Many of the scenes are predictable, but the ending is just right. And while it's a very male-driven film, co-star Leighton Meester (as Clara) adds some gentle delicateness to help balance out all the banter and testosterone.
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.