Soldiers of Fortune
What parents need to know
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.
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?