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The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that War is a violent but thrilling Bollywood Hindi-language action movie -- subtitled in English -- that deals with issues of patriotism, loyalty, and family. The movie has two dance sequences that break up the stylized violence that occurs when two special forces agents -- played by Bollywood superstars Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff -- face off. Although unsaid, there appears to be a distinct sexual chemistry between the two male leads. Fight scenes are visceral, with bone-crunching impact shots. There are also lots of gun and knife fights, with bloody but not gory results. The characters hold patriotism above all else, with honor and loyalty a close second. A character also learns to value family love. Special forces generally kill enemies rather than arrest them. Set in the real world, the Indian special forces are tracking down an ISIS target. There is a brief shot of CCTV footage of two characters in bed together. Parties in the movies are lavish idealized visions of wealth and high-end brand logos are visible throughout the movie. A song features a lyric about getting "tipsy." A character smokes a cigar and two characters sip wine. There is one use of the word "s--t." A character is described as being like a god or an idol to another. The movie begins with a disclaimer that states it does not wish to offend any religion, caste, or race.
What's the story?
Is it any good?
Violently smashing together the most iconic elements of '80s and '90s Hollywood with Hong Kong action cinema and repackaging with modern effects and audience expectations, War is a tour de force. Presented -- where available -- in stunning 4K, the camera loves stars Roshan and Shroff, perhaps as much as they love each other, as suggested by the distinct, yet unsaid, homoerotic undertones. Their smouldering performances are exactly what this kind of big, brash, and bombastic movie needs. The violence is suitably bone-crunching and thrilling, mixing the frenetic action of John Woo's explosive Hong Kong crime movies with the best of James Bond, with white-knuckle action taking place in exotic locations across the world. The film's score is also a highlight, raising a smile whenever the gigantic main theme tune kicks in.
Like the gung-ho Hollywood movies that inspired War, the movie's politics can be seen as questionable depending on the viewer's take on patriotism and a take-no-prisoners approach to national security. However, it balances it out slightly with the inclusion of love interest Naina (Vaani Kapoor) who offers a glimpse at a love beyond one's country. Punctuated by a couple of glossy musical numbers, War is a great-looking movie that throws just enough inventiveness into its big theatrical action pieces to make it a successful mission.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the violence in War. How did it make you feel? Did it feel necessary to the story? Do some types of media violence have different impact than others?
How is patriotism displayed in the movie? Should people love their country above all else? What are the positives and negatives of patriotism?
Talk about the relationship between Kabir and Khalid. How is Kabir a mentor to Khalid? Do you have a mentor? What is the benefit of having one? Do you think there is anything more to Kabir and Khalid's relationship?
Discuss how music and dancing is an integral part to Bollywood movies. Does it add or detract to the entertainment?
- In theaters: October 2, 2019
- On DVD or streaming: November 28, 2019
- Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Tiger Shroff, Vaani Kapoor
- Director: Siddharth Anand
- Studio: Yash Raj Films
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Friendship, Music and Sing-Along
- Character strengths: Courage, Integrity
- Run time: 154 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: April 23, 2020
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