War Movie Poster Image

War

(i)

 

What is it good for? Bloody fighting, apparently.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Cops, crime gangs, and civilians betray each other repeatedly, then seek vengeance in the most violent forms.

Violence

Violence is incessant, beginning with cops battling Yakuza members (hand-to-hand fighting and kicking, shooting, stabbing). An early scene shows the brutal murder of Tom's family (frightened wife and child, burning house), which sets up the movie's vengeance theme. Rogue's assaults include throat-cutting, slicing off an ear, shooting, and sticking a sword through a hand. A dog with a bomb on its collar explodes; Jack tortures a suspect by pushing at a bloody wound; a fighting ring shows men slamming against the cage; Kira wields sharp blades; when a man is shot in the head, blood spurts graphically; a father's head appears in a box sent to his daughter.

Sex

Bar scenes feature topless, thong-wearing dancers; Chang sends Rogue a prostitute: She strips off her dress and reveals giant breasts and a thong. Cops joke about women on the street being prostitutes (one refers to the other's mother as "working tonight").

Language

Lots of typical action-movie profanity, some of it subtitled, including frequent uses of "f--k," and fewer instances of "s--t," "hell," "damn," "son of a bitch," and "ass." Also a couple of slangy references to genitalia ("pr--k," "p---y").

Consumerism

Mostly expensive cars, including a sleek Spyker C8 Spyder.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Jack smokes several times; his partner notes that it's an "oral fixation" that he should give up. The villain smokes several times as well. Various background characters drink in bars, some "bikers" drink on the sidewalk, and Chang offers Rogue a drink a couple of times, but he refuses.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this violent Jet Li action movie -- which is full of body-smashing, martial arts-style fights, plus shooting, punching, knifing, and car crashes -- isn't for kids. Bare-breasted, thong-clad club dancers serve as a visual indication of the villains' corruption (one woman is given as a "present" to Rogue, but no sexual activity is shown). Jack smokes cigarettes, especially at the beginning of the movie, and there's plenty of drinking, though much is in the background. Language is frequent, usually angry, and mostly consists of "f--k."

What's the story?

WAR breaks out when San Francisco-based FBI agents Jack (Jason Statham) and Tom (Terry Chen) take on two gangs at once: the Chinese Triads, led by Chang (John Lone), and the Japanese Yakuza, headed up by Shiro (Ryo Ishibashi) and his cold-blooded daughter, Kira (Devon Aoki). Despite the terrible odds, Tom and Jack are fearless and swift, even risking the wrath of legendary assassin Rogue (Jet Li). When Tom and his family are brutally murdered, Jack begins a vendetta that strains his family life. Still, Jack is an action hero on a mission. He abandons his family to investigate clue after clue with his task force, getting ever closer to mysterious, plastic-surgery-altered Rogue.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

War's rudimentary plot doesn't go much beyond the basic premise; more disappointing are the limits the film places on its two charismatic stars. Li's only job is to look mysterious and speak very little, and Statham is relegated to charging around and watching his young, loyal, multicultural team members picked off one by one. Though frontloaded with fights and crashes, the formula actually seems to slow down the speedy action.

In his feature film debut, director Philip G. Atwell displays a fondness for fast cuts and close-ups, with an emphasis on big sound effects and machismo. He fleshes out the movie's fundamental revenge story with international jet-setting and plot points that have family members turning into both loyal fighters and victims.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the appeal of violent action movies. Why are filmgoers so entranced by fight scenes? Does the style of fighting affect how much you enjoy watching it? Families can also discuss the concept of revenge, which the movie revolves around. What is gained by revenge? Is violent vengeance ever justified? Parents, talk with your kids about the difference between real life and fantasy -- even teens. Point out that consequences exist -- even if it makes you feel humorless. The fact that violent movies stimulate parts of the brain is worth a reminder.

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 24, 2007
DVD/Streaming release date:January 1, 2008
Cast:Jason Statham, Jet Li, John Lone
Director:Philip G. Atwell
Studio:Lionsgate
Genre:Action/Adventure
Run time:103 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:sequences of strong bloody violence, sexuality/nudity and language.

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byzazmopepperz March 13, 2010

Ace

Awesome film that I loved! Recommended for older teens
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008

this is the coolest movie youll will ever see

Adult Written byElisha April 9, 2008