Want more recommendations for your family?
Sign up for our weekly newsletter for entertainment inspiration
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
You could argue that the takeaway is that it's bad to use chemical weapons on lots of people.
Positive Role Models
The good guys (except one) are genuinely good. One is a woman of Asian descent; their leader is a woman with lots of experience. Unfortunately, none of the characters are crafted well enough to be believable or make significant emotional or intellectual impact. And the heroes supposedly show "grit" and "passion," but they do it by breaking the rules in stupid ways that would get people killed and aren't punished for it. The bad guys, meanwhile, are generically evil with no motivations beyond revenge or assumed maliciousness.
Violence & Scariness
Plenty of action-movie violence without lasting emotional impact: Many gunfights with automatic weapons, some execution-style killings, brief fistfights, car chases. People are blown up, but it's not shown on-screen. The most graphic instance of violence is a character committing suicide with a pistol.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Violence & Scariness in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Occasional use of words including "s--t," "bulls--t," "f--king," etc.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Stratton is an action movie based on Duncan Falconer's books about a British special agent (Dominic Cooper of TV's Preacher). It has plenty of action-movie violence and cursing ("s--t," "f--k," and more), but there's nothing too extreme. It's less graphic than, say, an Expendables movie. Expect shoot-outs, car chases, some fistfighting, and explosions, as well as a scene in which a character commits suicide with a gun. There's also some drinking. Connie Nielsen, Tom Felton, and Thomas Kretschmann co-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?
It's hard to imagine how this unimpressive action film would have been greenlit if it hadn't been based on a book series. Most Americans have likely never heard of the "John Stratton" novels, but they supposedly offer grittier, more realistic special-operative fiction than, say, James Bond. But the movie feels rooted in nothing but other similarly themed films. There's very little actual "character" to Stratton himself: He walks around looking serious, and we're told he's "a highly effective operative [who doesn't] have a reputation for respecting authority or the chain of command." (Yes, it's that kind of script.) We also meet Stratton's father figure, a straight-up squandered Derek Jacobi playing a fisherman who apparently only exists on his boat. Other than that, Stratton runs around unconvincingly firing weapons and not calling for backup. Cooper made his name in stage adaptations such as The History Boys and Mamma Mia and is now on AMC's Preacher, but nothing about his physicality or demeanor here says "highly trained military operative."
The setups and set pieces feel rote. People don't react the way you might expect. Imagine you were a bad guy meeting an even more dangerous bad guy in your home, and your contact reveals that the place is bugged. In Stratton, the response is ... no response. It's as if the big bad guy was criticizing the lesser bad guy's taste in wallpaper. The good guys murder helpless suspects, even blowing one up after establishing that he's a loving husband and father. Streets are conveniently empty for dull car chases, assembled so as to remove any tension. There's little rhyme or reason to the many shoot-outs. The big bad guy's evil plans are even spelled out in a letter that he sends, supposedly in secret, to someone at MI6. The stunts are unspectacular and, when mixed with bland dialogue and faceless characters, add up to a lot of nothing.
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.