A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Some discussion contrasting patriotism and service with selfishness, but eventually even the heroes stop being patriots, so it's unclear whether this movie has anything at all to say. Intense violence has few or no consequences.
Positive Role Models
Vail is clever and resourceful and takes pride in his bricklaying skills, but he's also very violent in his methods and seems to have little regard for women; he doesn't see them as equals.
Main character Vail is a White man who doesn't seem to have a high opinion of women. His partner/possible love interest, Kate, is played by Nina Dobrev, a Bulgarian-born Canadian. Vail sees her as inexperienced, and she does get her gun taken away from her twice, but she persists and ultimately helps save the day. Villain Radek is played by Clifton Collins Jr., who identifies as Latino. Tye, a former love interest of the hero and another CIA agent, is played by Ilfenesh Hadera, who's of Ethiopian and European ethnicity. Characters in smaller, background, or villain roles appear to be Greek, Israeli, Russian, etc.
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Violence & Scariness
Guns and shooting, with people shot and killed. Many blood spurts and bloody wounds. Lots of fighting, punching, kicking, martial arts, etc. Characters are stabbed with knives and a trowel, beaten with metal poles and other hard objects, and smashed in the head with bottles and glasses. Someone's head is bashed against a brick wall. A character's hand is crushed with a sledgehammer. People are strangled with a tape measure and a belt. A woman gets punched and falls through furniture; she lands hard and is knocked unconscious. Man slaps woman in face. Dead body strapped to explosive device. Person crushed by huge metal pipes. Limb-breaking. Falls from high places. Explosions. Vehicle chases and crashes. Gory photos depicting dead woman and girl. Arguing.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Characters kiss, share a tender dance, and hold each other. Scantily clad women dance on top of the bar in a nightclub.
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Several uses of "f--k" or "f--king," plus occasional uses of "s--t," "a--hole," "son of a bitch," "ass," "hell," "pr--k," "dumb," "crap." "Christ" used as an exclamation.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Background drinking and smoking in nightclubs. Cigar smoking. Characters share whiskeys. Main character produces a bag of drugs that turns out to be medicine for a dog. A minor character opens a can of beer at home but doesn't drink.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The Bricklayer is a generic action-thriller about CIA spies on the trail of a rogue who has information that could destroy the United States. Violence is the biggest issue, with lots of guns and shooting (sometimes fatal), fighting, bloody wounds, and deaths. People are bashed up against brick walls; hit with sledgehammers, glass bottles, metal pipes, etc.; and strangled. Limbs are broken, vehicles crash, there are large explosions, and more. A woman is slapped in the face, shoved through a bookcase, and knocked unconscious. Language includes sporadic uses of "f--k," "s--t," "a--hole," "son of a bitch," "ass," "hell," and "pr--k," as well as exclamations of "Christ." There's some kissing and romantic dancing, and scantily clad women dance on a bar in a nightclub. There's background drinking and smoking (including cigars) in nightclubs, plus additional social drinking. A character produces a bag of drugs that turns out to be medicine for a dog. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Ranging from utterly generic to totally ridiculous, this action-thriller is like a second-rate version of a 1990s movie; it's all bickering, one-liners, and overly familiar plot turns. If only The Bricklayer had had even the slightest bit of self-awareness—or a more playful sense of humor—it could have worked. But Eckhart's steely turn in the title role makes it seem deadly serious. (Jason Statham might have been a better choice.) Everything in the plot is creaky and obvious, from the MacGuffin (the secret file that could sink the entire United States) to the "guy who can get you anything" to the many clunky fight scenes. A character even utters the oft-heard line, "We had a deal!"
Perhaps most insulting is the pairing of Vail and Kate. He immediately views her as a weakling who's unfit for service in the field, and she, perplexingly, still eventually falls for him. Their predictable bickering centers on her wanting to do things by the book vs. doing things "his way"; he won't even let her drive a car. The movie was directed by Renny Harlin, who had some hits back in the 1990s—Die Hard 2, Cliffhanger, etc.—and perhaps he's still trying to copy his once-winning formula? Stupidest of all is the "bricklayer" idea. Vail insists on bringing his tools everywhere he goes, which allows him to stab two minions with a trowel, but also allows him to—no kidding—find evidence hidden in a brick fireplace. In the end, The Bricklayer is as dumb as a bag of hammers.
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.