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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Although the heroes take on an "impossible" mission, bravely standing up against the odds (and, in the process, restoring a son's faith in his father), the results of the mission bring back a symbol of one country's dominance over another -- and to accomplish these goals, the heroes must engage in all kinds of violence.
Positive Role Models
Marcus fights for his father's honor and stands up against a crowd to rescue a slave. He and the slave become friends, despite the fact that they're from opposite sides of the war. Marcus is a violent hero, but he learns something about the terrible nature of war over the course of the film, and ultimately it appears that he's on the right track.
Violence & Scariness
Several battles and lots of fighting, with swords, blades, and bows and arrows, and some blood on view. People are burned and beheaded (off screen); viewers do see a severed head. Characters are also strangled, beaten, and severely injured. Viewers see hanged corpses, and a character guts a wild boar. Characters tell stories of battles and killings, and the remains of a "killing field" littered with skulls and skeletons are shown. The heroes kill, skin, and eat a raw rat. A grown man smacks a young boy across the face.
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Language includes infrequent use of "fart," "pissing," "s--t," "damn," and "ass."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The main character asks for wine before enduring a painful operation on his leg. Minor characters pass around what appears to be an alcoholic, hallucinogenic drink.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this honor-and-freedom-themed historical action/drama set during Rome's occupation of Southern Britain has lots of fighting and violence. There are battles with swords, blades, and bows and arrows, as well as some blood, strangling, a severed head, and dead animals. Characters tell stories of bloody, exhausting battles, and a man smacks a young boy across the face. Language is minor (words include "ass," "fart," and "pissing"), and there's a little drinking -- but no sexual content. Although characters begin to doubt the need for war, that doesn't stop their penchant for violence. 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 movie has a heavy, gray look, and it's mostly humorless. It delves into the battles with grim resolve (and choppy editing), and it's not clear whether the violence is supposed to be fun or cautionary (if it's the latter, then there's an awful lot of it, and it's tiresome). Fortunately, in his small role, Sutherland strikes a nice, cheerful tone that -- in larger doses -- might have made the movie more fun.
Oscar-winning filmmaker Kevin Macdonald (One Day in September) has had mixed results with his fiction movies (The Last King of Scotland, State of Play), and his rather impersonal approach doesn't suit this stodgy historical action movie. It takes a while to get going, and then its promising idea -- the "road trip" with the two enemies-turned-friends -- doesn't pay off. The film fails to really narrow its focus on these two, instead pondering larger issues, such as honor, glory, war, and freedom. The humans get lost in the shuffle.
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.