Parents' Guide to

The Gardener

By Brian Costello, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Absurd action movie has graphic violence, language.

Movie R 2021 89 minutes
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This is a ludicrous action movie that is, at times, unintentionally hilarious. The Gardener is basically a paint-by-numbers action movie in which the action hero (yes, a gardener with a mysterious military past) spends most of the movie's second act taking out an international conglomerate of home invaders who are going after the English manor where he tends to the flowers and shrubs and bushes. It's not spoiling anything to reveal that various garden implements are used to fatal, bloody, and graphic effect. And there are even some gardening metaphors connecting roots and families, although not nearly enough is made of all the possible one-liners that could've been employed throughout during the action sequences -- "you reap what you sow," etcetera.

Unintentionally funny dialogue, fight scenes that test the limits of the audience's gullibility, highly questionable accents -- these elements would make The Gardener entertaining in a so-bad-it's-good way if the story itself wasn't so formulaic. Still, you can't help but laugh when one of the lead villains, upon learning that there's one person they didn't account for while plotting their invasion and robbery of the manor, exclaims in a voice of terror and awe, "It's the gardener!" as if he's talking about an unkillable monster rather than an aging Charles Bronson doppelganger. It's hard to imagine anyone having high expectations before sitting down to watch a movie like this, and it almost goes without saying that expectations set at a low bar is the key to deriving any entertainment value from this ridiculous action movie.

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