The Prince

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
The Prince Movie Poster Image
Flat characters, blood, and drugs in dud of a thriller.
  • R
  • 2014
  • 93 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Only negative messages -- such as the suggestion that if parents keep too close a watch on their children, they'll end up being runaways and drug addicts. And, if so, it's perfectly OK to beat up and shoot anyone who gets in the way of retrieving said lost child. And it's also OK to endanger the lives of other teens in the process.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The main character is essentially a reformed bad guy with plenty of fighting and killing skills who's suffering from a mistake he made in his past but trying to go straight. Yet as soon as anything goes wrong, the old fighting and killing skills come out again, with no consequences.

Violence

The movie is full of shooting, chasing, and fighting, with lots of spurting and spattering blood. Teen girls are put in jeopardy, and, in a flashback, a mother and a young girl are killed in a car explosion.

Sex

A couple of sexually charged moments between a college-age female character and the middle-aged male main character, though nothing comes of it. Some scenes take place in nightclubs with women in scantily clad outfits behaving in suggestive ways.

Language

Language is fairly strong, with multiple uses of "f--k," "motherf----r," "s--t," "bulls--t," "a--hole," "ass," and "Jesus Christ."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

A college-age character says how drunk she is and is shown doing cocaine. Other drugs are referenced. Another college-age character is said to have become a junkie and run off to live with a drug dealer. Some minor characters are drug dealers. The main character drinks whiskey from time to time and suggests that, in his past, he used to drink a great deal. A character smokes a cigar.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Prince is an action thriller about a man with a past trying to find his missing college-age daughter. It's quite violent, with plenty of bloody shoot outs, killings, beatings, and chase scenes -- all with few to no consequences. Drugs are part of the plot; some minor characters are drug dealers. The daughter is said to have become an addict and run away to live with her dealer. Another college-age character is shown to be drunk and is shown snorting cocaine. Other drugs are referenced. Language is strong, with multiple uses of "f--k," "s--t," and other words. There's no nudity or sex, but there are some sexually charged moments between a college-age young woman and a middle-aged man, as well as women wearing sexy clothing in a nightclub.

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What's the story?

Mississippi mechanic Paul (Jason Patric) receives an odd call from his teenage daughter, Beth (Gia Mantegna), who's away at college. He tries to reach her, but she's gone. So he attempts to find her. Enlisting the aid of one of her hard-partying friends, Amanda (Jessica Lowndes), Paul traces Beth to a drug dealer in New Orleans. Unfortunately, Paul's presence in town sparks an old rivalry with gangster Omar (Bruce Willis), who wants revenge on Paul. Paul, too, is more than meets the eye, and his past colleagues -- like Sam (John Cusack) -- as well as past enemies, quickly start taking notice of him. Will Paul's past overtake his presence and endanger Beth's life?

Is it any good?

A veteran of low-budget, low-profile action movies, director Brian A Miller turns in a fairly typical, lackluster, knuckle-dragging thriller with THE PRINCE. As the story begins, it doesn't make sense that Paul would put so much faith and trust in a college girl, and when it's revealed that he's a kind of super-soldier, it makes even less sense. He comes across as unflappable and practically invincible, with everything under control. No one seems to be in danger, and nothing ever seems truly at stake.

That character negatively impacts the rest of the cast. Rain (from Ninja Assassin), playing a deadly right-hand man; Willis as a gangster; and Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, playing a dangerous drug dealer, never seem like real threats. Nor does Cusack, as Paul's trustworthy old pal, seem very helpful. The movie glides along lifelessly at a surface level, hitting plot points but not investing in the characters, the emotional heft, or any suspense. The Prince is a royal dud.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about The Prince's violence. How did it affect you? How did the filmmakers achieve that impact? How much violence is directed at women? Does that make it more disturbing? Why?

  • What's appealing about a "hero" with a dark past? Do the main character's flaws make him interesting, or do they make him seem less heroic?

  • What do you think of the concept that over-protective parents lead to reckless, rebellious children?

  • Are the women in the movie too young to be viewed as sex symbols?

  • How does the movie portray drug use? Are there realistic consequences? What's the rationale for the young people in this movie for drinking and using drugs?

Movie details

For kids who love thrills

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