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"SUDDEN DEATH"
(1995) (Jean Claude Van Damme, Powers Boothe) (R)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Mild Moderate Heavy Moderate Extreme
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Mild Minor Mild None Heavy
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Minor Mild Mild Mild Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
A former firefighter must fight off a group of terrorists that have his daughter and the Vice President as hostages during a terrorist takeover over a city arena.
PLOT:
Darren (JEAN-CLAUDE VAN DAMME) McCord is a fire marshal for a sports arena. Divorced and removed from his kids, Emily (WHITTNI WRIGHT) and Tyler (ROSS MALINGER), he decides to take them out for the night to the final game of the Stanley Cup hockey finals. What he doesn't know is 1) the Vice President of the U.S. (RAYMOND J. BERRY) is going to be there and 2) that a group of terrorists led by Joshua Foss (POWERS BOOTHE) will also be there. The terrorists take over the arena and demand that large amounts of U.S. funds be transferred to their foreign accounts or else they'll start killing people. Of course they didn't expect Darren to be there, and once he discovers what they're up to and after they threaten his kids -- look out! Darren proceeds to kick, punch and generally make life bad for the terrorists while Secret Service agent Matthew Hallmark (DORIAN HAREWOOD) tries to resolve the situation from the outside.
WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
If they're fans of Jean Claude's or of the "Die Hard" type action films.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For a substantial amount of strong violence, and for language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • JEAN-CLAUDE VAN DAMME plays a concerned father who does everything he can to save his kids and stop the terrorists. In the process he kills many people, but all are in self defense or to save his kids.
  • POWERS BOOTHE plays the despicable terrorist who kills people over money without remorse.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    OUR TAKE: 4 out of 10
    In another rip-off of the "Die Hard" movies, Jean Claude replaces Bruce Willis and a sports arena replaces Nakatomi Plaza, but beyond that, nothing much else has changed. There's the smooth, sophisticated bad guy, his nameless bunch of bad guys and the plot where the hero offs them one by one, whittling his way down to the top dog. If you like this type of film and don't mind the retreading of the one man against many plot, you'll probably enjoy this one just like all of the others. On the other hand, if you wonder how a firefighter acquired such marvelous martial arts skills or the architectural knowledge to figure out where the terrorists placed their small bombs throughout the arena, the implausibilities will drive you mad. We give this one just 4 out of 10.
    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    This is a rather violent film with many people killed (the point of which is to see how inventive Van Damme can be in offing the bad guys). There's a fair amount of usage of the "f" word, but no nudity. If you've seen other similar films ("Die Hard," "Under Siege," etc...) then you'll know what to expect from this one. As always, check out the category listings before making up your mind.

    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • People are seen drinking champagne in the V.P.'s box before the game.
  • Joshua is occasionally seen drinking champagne and/or wine.
  • BLOOD/ GORE
  • Several of the gunshot victims are a little bloody.
  • Emily opens a bathroom stall door and discovers a dead and blood-covered woman.
  • Both Darren and a woman, dressed as a mascot, are somewhat bloody after their big kitchen fight.
  • A terrorist bleeds after Darren jams a sharp chicken bone into his neck.
  • Darren opens an office door and finds a dead woman hanging there, a bullet hole in her head with blood running down from it.
  • Several dead federal agents have bloody bullet holes in their heads.
  • Through the end, most of the people who are killed have some amount of blood on or coming from them.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Of course all of the bad guys have both. Joshua, their leader, informs everyone that if he doesn't get his money, he'll start killing people and he starts with a few victims.
  • Joshua says "Will you make that cow stop moaning?" to a man comforting his scared and crying wife.
  • Joshua gets impatient trying to get Emily to spit out her father's name and says, “Would you like it if I filled your mouth with spiders?”
  • Hallmark is a turn coat and is working with Joshua.
  • Joshua offers Emily a glass of wine or a cigarette and says that it’s customary to offer them to someone who’s going to die.
  • FRIGHTENING/TENSE SCENES
  • The opening sequence has Darren rushing inside a burning house. Moments later he's found a little girl, but ends up getting stuck in the floor. The fire is growing and suddenly burning debris from the floor above falls on the two of them and the little girl is killed.
  • Many people may find the action contained in the violent scenes as tense. Obviously the times when someone is threatened with death are tense (ie. When Joshua holds a gun to them and may or may not shoot) and you should read “Violence" for more details.
  • Darren deactivates the hidden bombs one by one and while he’s working on one, Joshua gets ready to detonate it. Darren makes it just in time (even though Joshua was using a fake detonator).
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Machine guns/Hand guns/Knives/Missile Launchers/Bombs: Used throughout the film to injure or kill many people. For details, see “Violence.”
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Shut up," "I hate you," and "Jerk off."
  • The arena's chef throws a huge knife into the air that falls and chops an onion in half, impressing the kids.
  • Tyler squirts his sister with a water squirt gun.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • A burned up Hallmark (having just been on fire) jumps out at Darren and they fight.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • Several of the action scenes are accompanied by mild tense music.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • 15 "f" words (1 written in subtitles), 8 "s" words, 4 "ass" words, 2 hells, 1 damn and 4 uses of "Christ/Jesus Christ," and 2 uses of "God damn" as exclamations.
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • There's brief male rear nudity in one of the locker rooms.
  • SMOKING
  • Joshua is occasionally seen smoking.
  • Joshua offers Emily a glass of wine or a cigarette and says that it’s customary to offer them to someone who’s going to die.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Darren's ex-wife isn't happy to see him, especially since he wants to take the kids to the hockey game. Her new husband, however, says she should let them go.
  • Tyler and Emily get into a childhood fight over their father. She claims he' s an important firefighter while he says his dad's job is just to change the light bulbs in the building.
  • The Mayor grieves over his just shot dead wife.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Whether terrorists might strike during a sporting event, or anywhere in public.
  • VIOLENCE
  • A car runs into the back of another car. Its occupants get out with machine guns and kill the men who were in the front car.
  • The terrorists are seen prepping for their take over and load their guns and ready their fake i.d.'s. Joshua sets up an explosive to cover their setup and after they leave a small explosion occurs.
  • The arena's head chef's wife is taken by gunpoint into her home. Later she's told to call her husband at work. She reads to him that if he follows the directions, they won't kill her. His directions are to take two new men with him as he serves dinner to the Vice President's box.
  • The terrorists take over the V.P.'s box, shooting and killing many workers and Secret Service agents. A man tends to a wounded man, stating that he needs a doctor. Joshua walks up and shoots the man dead. He then shoots another man in the leg and then shoots the chef dead.
  • The chef's wife is shot dead in her home.
  • There is the typical hockey violence that occurs in the game.
  • Joshua states that if certain monies aren't transferred by specific times, people will die, including everyone in the building at the end of the game if all of the money isn't his.
  • Joshua shoots the Mayor's wife dead.
  • Emily opens a bathroom stall and discovers a dead, blood-covered woman. Emily tries to run but is grabbed by the killer dressed in a mascot's outfit.
  • The woman dressed as the mascot shoots a Secret Service agent, drags him into an elevator and then shoots him several times more. She then aims the gun at Emily and pulls the trigger, but is out of bullets.
  • Darren and the woman mascot fight. She pulls a gun, but it’s knocked away. He grabs a knife and it too is knocked away. They then proceed to hit, kick and knock each other into and over appliances in the kitchen. She holds his head near a meat slicer and then has a meat cleaver knocked from her hands. She then holds his head near boiling grease, but he jams her hand down into it, burning her. He then stands her up into an exhaust fan that chops away the top of her costume. She tries the gun one more time, but he stops her and then she gets caught up on a conveyor belt that pulls her through some big appliance where she’s killed.
  • Darren fights another person in the kitchen where more hits, kicks and head butts are used. Darren holds the guy down on dry ice to make him talk. He then pulls out an ankle knife and Darren grabs a chicken bone, breaks it, and jabs the end into the guy’s neck, killing him.
  • Darren opens an office door and finds a dead woman hanging there, a bullet hole in her head with blood running down from it.
  • The terrorists blow up many cars in the parking lot, injuring several people and catching one man on fire.
  • A terrorist shoots a missile at a helicopter that explodes near it. As a result, one of the men falls from the copter to his death on top of a car.
  • A Zamboni careens through the parking lot and crashes to a halt. Several dead federal agents come tumbling out and one is in the driver’s seat with a bullet hole in the head.
  • Darren throws a cell phone into a mirror in the bathroom after it no longer works.
  • Joshua shoots the mayor dead.
  • A terrorist shoots a missile into an electronic billboard that Darren was using to communicate with the Feds and it blows up.
  • Darren is discovered by a terrorist with a machine gun. Darren then fires a makeshift weapon he created, impaling the guy in the neck with a screw, killing him.
  • Agent Hallmark knocks out a bad guy who had his sights on Darren.
  • Terrorists fire their machine guns at Darren and Hallmark.
  • Hallmark pulls his gun on Darren who pulls out a squirt gun and cigarette lighter. He shoots flammable liquid across the lighter that ignites Hallmark who stumbles away screaming in pain.
  • Joshua offers Emily a glass of wine or a cigarette and says that it’s customary to offer them to someone who’s going to die.
  • Joshua tells Emily that he's going to kill her daddy.
  • Darren, in disguise as a hockey player, punches an opposing player in order to be taken off the ice.
  • A team trainer is shot with a machine gun. Darren then slaps the assailant in the neck with a hockey stick and then kicks him unconscious.
  • Darren and a terrorist have a machine gun battle in a training room, and when they run out of bullets, they have hand to hand combat. Darren eventually knocks the guy out.
  • Joshua shoots another man dead as the game goes into overtime.
  • Darren fights off two guys on the half-open roof of the arena. One slides down the roof, the other falls down onto the scoreboard which sparks and explodes. Darren then slides down several cables and drops a homemade bomb onto the V.P.’s box that explodes. He jumps inside and there’s much machine gun fire. All of the terrorists but Joshua are killed.
  • Joshua sets off an explosive that injures several people as they flee from the arena.
  • Joshua then grabs Emily but Darren stops him and they fight. Emily falls down through a trap door and dangles a hundred feet from the floor as the two continue their obligatory, end of the movie, hand to hand fight. Emily finally climbs up and Joshua climbs up a rope ladder hanging from his escape helicopter. Darren fires his handgun up through the helicopter, killing two people inside and sending it, and Joshua, falling down through the half-open roof. It crashes onto the rink below and explodes.



  • Reviewed August 5, 1996

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