Soldiers of Fortune



Violent action movie tries to be smart but isn't.
  • Review Date: August 4, 2012
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 94 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Soldiers of Fortune has a subplot about learning not to be selfish and working together -- but the main storyline is about revenge.

Positive role models

Several greedy, selfish, self-involved billionaires learn to be less selfish and how to work together in a tense situation. On the downside, one of them is a traitor, and the main character only resolves his troubled storyline by killing the man who wronged him.


Many powerful weapons and lots of shooting, with much spurting blood as bullets impact human flesh. In a harrowing scene, evil soldiers attack a village, blowing up buildings and shooting unarmed civilians. A man is shot by a tank. Many characters, including some of the main supporting characters, die. A character has a bullet painfully removed from his leg. Violent video games are shown and/or described, with titles like Death Porn and Baby Killer.




Language is fairly infrequent but includes a few "f--k"s, plus at least one "s--t" and the occasional use of "bitch," "bastard," "ass," "piss," "hell," "goddamn," "screw you," and innuendo like "losing your cherry." Characters also say "Jesus Christ" in tense situations.

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters are shown drinking whisky, beer, wine, cognac, and champagne in a background, social way. No one gets drunk. Characters also smoke expensive cigars in more than one scene. Cognac is used to disinfect a wound and to help ease the pain of a man with a bullet in his leg.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Soldiers of Fortune -- an underwhelming action movie with a war setting -- has lots of weapons and heavy shooting, with lots of spurting blood. Characters die. Language is strong, though not constant, and includes both "f--k" and "s--t." Characters drink alcohol from time to time, but in a background way, with no drunkenness. Supporting characters learn to work together and to be less selfish, but the main character's motivation is revenge.

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

In Afghanistan, soldier Craig McCenzie (Christian Slater) disobeys orders to rescue his buddy (Freddy Rodriguez) from the clutches of a crooked CIA man, Mason (Colm Meaney). Years later, out of work, McCenzie is forced to sign up for "Soldiers of Fortune," a program in which billionaires can play war games without getting hurt. Unfortunately, everything goes wrong, and McCenzie is stuck behind enemy lines with several wealthy civilians (Ving Rhames, James Cromwell, Sean Bean, Dominic Monaghan). What's more, his old nemesis, Mason, is also around, backing a notorious enemy general. Can McCenzie get his men back to safety and also clear the slate?

Is it any good?


SOLDIERS OF FORTUNE has a good cast, and most of them try their best, but you have to wonder why any of them actually signed on for this lopsided movie. At first it seems to be a satire or a social commentary, inventing a real-life war game for rich people. But then it becomes concerned with the rich characters learning how to work together and growing less selfish. That would be fine if McCenzie had a similar arc, but his entire point is to get revenge against the man who messed up his life.

As for the writing and directing, Soldiers of Fortune seems to just go through the motions, copying whatever scenes or ideas seemed to work in other movies but which don't necessarily work again here. Characters' motivations are cloudy or nonsensical, and attempts to generate suspense range from frustrating to laughable. Perhaps the movie could have worked better if it had gone with a wickeder, more satirical worldview, but as it is, it has nothing to say.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the Soldiers of Fortune's violence. Which scenes are exciting, and which are shocking? Is it necessary for the movie to show so many people getting shot and killed to make its point?

  • What's the difference between the main character's story, and those of the supporting characters (the billionaires)? What do each of them learn along the way? Are any of them worthwhile role models?

  • Is the movie a satire? Could something like the "Soldiers of Fortune" program (real-life war adventures for the wealthy) really exist?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 3, 2012
DVD release date:September 25, 2012
Cast:Christian Slater, Sean Bean, Ving Rhames
Director:Maxim Korostyshevsky
Run time:94 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:violence and language

This review of Soldiers of Fortune was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Violent but quirky movie aimed at teen comic book fans.
  • Big explosions, big fun in big-screen adaptation.
  • Classic WWII action movie still packs a violent punch.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Kid, 10 years old May 15, 2013

Too violent

Too violent
What other families should know
Too much violence


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Star Wars Guide