A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Vice is a terrible sci-fi-action film about a fictional resort that allows people to live out their most outrageous fantasies of sex and violence (mostly the latter). Even though the movie is supposed to be a commentary on this notion, it ends up showcasing strong, brutal violence against women (the fact that the women are robots doesn't help). It's largely bloodless, but the laundry list includes plenty of shooting and fighting, beatings, choking, death, and the suggestion of rape. A topless female is shown, and sex is heavily implied, with sounds, silhouettes, kissing, and sexy dancing/grinding. Language includes several uses of "f--k" and "s--t," and characters are shown on several occasions drinking shots in social settings.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In the future, a shrewd businessman named Julian Michaels (Bruce Willis) has established an enormously successful resort called "Vice," where customers can live out their most depraved and violent fantasies on extremely lifelike robots. While the government kowtows to the business, benefiting from the money it brings in, local cop Roy (Thomas Jane) wants nothing more than to shut the resort down, believing that it only increases crime in the real world. When one female robot, Kelly (Ambyr Childers), becomes self-aware and escapes, Roy may just have his chance.
Is it any good?
Director Brian A. Miller and star Bruce Willis previously gave us the terrible The Prince, and now they're back with this equally terrible entry. VICE steals ideas from movies like Westworld and The Purge but doesn't add anything fresh. It seems bent on showcasing nasty violence against women, and it doesn't matter that they're robots and that the good guys are outraged; the violence is still there, and the movie can't seem to get enough.
Besides being morally questionable, the movie is poorly made. The dialogue is painfully clunky and overly explanatory, and the actors -- whether newcomer or veteran -- can't make it work. Jane's performance is like a parody of acting, and even Willis seems distressingly awkward, speaking his villainous plans out loud. The plot moves in disconnected fits and starts, and the action is sub-par. Be virtuous and avoid this Vice.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Vice's violence. Why is the fact that women are victims so disturbing? How intense is the rest of the movie? What's the overall impact of the violence?
How are women treated in the movie overall? Do they get a chance to become real characters or to express strength, individuality, or free will?
Why would a resort like Vice be successful? Would people get everything out of their system there, or would it only "give them a taste for more"?
Does the Kelly robot character present an unrealistic female body image?
- In theaters: January 16, 2015
- On DVD or streaming: March 17, 2015
- Cast: Bruce Willis, Thomas Jane, Ambyr Childers
- Director: Brian A Miller
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Robots
- Run time: 96 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: violence, language and some sexual content/nudity
- Last updated: September 20, 2019
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