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"HARSH TIMES"
(2006) (Christian Bale, Freddy Rodriguez) (R)

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


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: While trying to adapt to life outside of the military, an intense ex-Army ranger becomes increasingly volatile, especially when things don't turn out as he hoped.
PLOT:
Jim Davis (CHRISTIAN BALE) is an honorably discharged, ex-Army ranger who's still haunted by nightmares of what he saw and did in the service. He also finds some peace and solace in his Mexican girlfriend, Marta (TAMMY TRULL), who he hopes to marry after bringing her back to the States once he gets a visa for her.

His main obstacle is that he doesn't have a job, although he wants to land one with the LAPD, a point that his best friend Mike Alonzo (FREDDY RODRIGUEZ) thinks is ironic since Jim is otherwise a law-breaking screw-up. Mike is also unemployed, much to the chagrin of his live-in lawyer girlfriend Sylvia (EVA LONGORIA) who rightly worries that he's out drinking and getting into trouble with Jim when he should be looking for a job.

When the LAPD turns him down, Jim starts to spiral out of control, leading to drinking, violence and more, dragging Mike along for the ride. Fueled by booze and drugs, Jim's volatility only gets worse, although he can turn on the charm and good manners when needed, such as when applying for a job with the Department of Homeland Security.

But when that results in him being forced to choose between Marta and a job that would utilize his specialized if lethal skills in a far-off country, he finds himself torn about what to do. That leads to him, Mike and their friend Toussant (CHAKA FORMAN) heading off to Mexico for what might be their last hurrah, unaware that Jim might snap at any moment and thus turn all of their lives upside down.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Older teens could be interested, as might anyone who's a fan of someone in the cast.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For strong violence, language and drug use.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
Considering what occurs in the film, it's doubtful parents would view any good role models among the major characters.
CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


(Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
The following is a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated drama. Profanity consists of at least 296 "f" words, while plenty of other expletives and colorful phrases are also used. Sexually related dialogue is present, as is some brief fooling around, off-screen sex, and other unseen sexual encounters that have resulted in an out of wedlock pregnancy.

Violence includes a number of people being shot and killed in and out of combat, a person having their throat cut, a deranged man threatening his pregnant girlfriend, and some fighting. Some of that has bloody and/or gory results, while those scenes and other moments of peril might be unsettling and/or suspenseful to viewers.

Various people have varying degrees of bad attitudes, and some of the behavior that's present may be enticing for some kids to imitate. That includes drug use and drinking (both of which occasionally coincide with driving), while smoking is also present.

If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there are varying amounts of handheld camerawork in the film.



ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Sylvia tells Mike "no drinking" (while out job hunting) and he mentions having been out drinking before. He and Jim then drink beer in a car in the morning.
  • Jim states, "I want to get f*cked up." We then see him and Mike buying large bottles of malt liquor (or something similar).
  • Jim wants some "reefer" and he and Mike steal some off the street during a drug deal that's just gone down. We then see both of them taking hits from a bong outside in some desolate area. Later, both are high while driving through the city.
  • Jim and Mike have beer.
  • Jim smokes pot.
  • Jim drinks and drives, while Mike also has a beer in the car, but Jim complains that his friend is "killing my buzz."
  • Jim and Mike visit a drug dealer who shares his joint with Jim who then shares it with Mike.
  • Mike and another man drink from large bottles of malt liquor (or something similar).
  • Miscellaneous people drink in a bar.
  • Sylvia tells Mike that she wishes she could hang out and get wasted like the old days, but can't.
  • When Sylvia learns Mike was deceiving her (about getting phone calls about job interviews), she says, "I bet you're doing lines again" (drugs).
  • Mike drinks and drives, while Jim also drinks in the car. A cop then pulls them over, with Mike panicking that his license has expired and Jim wants to shoot the cops. But it turns out the cops know and let them go.
  • Jim, Mike, and Toussant have beer and then litter their cans before driving off.
  • Mike talks of getting "weed" in Mexico.
  • Jim, Mike, and Toussant have beer.
  • Jim, Mike and Toussant have beer, as do others, and Jim appears intoxicated.
  • Jim drinks and drives fast while mentally unstable.
  • Jim tells Mike that they have 20 kilos of "weed" in the trunk and did so as they crossed the border back into the U.S. He then tries to sell it to another man.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • Needing to pass a drug test for a job interview with Homeland Security, Jim drinks straight vinegar, stating that it shuts down the kidneys. We then see the motion of him injecting what's presumably someone else's urine into his own penis via a turkey baster (to pass off as his own). We don't see the actual insertion, but do see and hear his pained response to the act. During that, he half-jokingly tells Mike, "Quit looking, faggot." Later, the man interviewing Jim (who's straining to hold it in) comments about his surly attitude, joking that Jim is full of "piss and vinegar."
  • A man in a bar suddenly cuts another man's throat with a broken bottle, killing him with lots of resultant blood (that bothers Mike but not Jim).
  • After Jim says one can fool a polygraph test by squeezing one's butt "like you're taking a sh*t," Mike jokes that he's "gonna sh*t your pants," followed by Jim joking, "I think I just did."
  • We see photos of dead Arabs with blood on them and the floor around them.
  • Jim shoots four thugs dead (we see the first three -- with some bloody results -- and hear the fourth shooting).
  • A man opens fire with a shotgun on a fleeing car. We see the shot enter the car in slow motion, going through the trunk and then into the back of the front seat, severely wounding the person there (with very bloody results). We then see the side of that person's head that has a very bloody and gory wound (and lots of blood elsewhere on him, including his hand).
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Upset when some guy glances over at him in a car, Jim gets out of his and throws his beer bottle at the other car.
  • After a store clerk tells Mike he can't sell individual packs of cigarettes, Jim opens one pack and takes a few cigarettes.
  • Jim refers to an Asian store clerk as "Chino."
  • Jim wants some "reefer" and he and Mike steal some off the street during a drug deal that's just gone down.
  • While frisking some thugs to rob them (after they started to beat him up), Jim twice feels the one woman's clothed butt.
  • Jim fakes a call to Sylvia as if an employer wanting to set up a job interview with Mike.
  • Needing to pass a drug test for a job interview with Homeland Security, Jim drinks straight vinegar, stating that it shuts down the kidneys. We then see the motion of him injecting what's presumably someone else's urine into his own penis via a turkey baster (to pass off as his own).
  • While standing in line for urine tests during a job application, Jim repeatedly but quietly picks on and taunts another applicant in line with him.
  • Jim refers to Arabs as "Hadjis."
  • After Jim makes a fake call to Sylvia, Mike complains that he sounded gay. When they then have a drug dealer make a similar fake employment call to Sylvia, Mike tells him "don't sound like a fag." Other such gay-related comments are made in the film.
  • A man in a bar suddenly cuts another man's throat with a broken bottle, killing him with lots of resultant blood (that bothers Mike but not Jim).
  • After he's been assigned to work in Columbia and Jim states he plans on marrying Marta, an official tells him not to "shack up with some Mexican broad," commenting on other better women out there.
  • Mike drinks and drives, while Jim also drinks in the car. A cop then pulls them over, with Mike panicking that his license has expired and Jim wants to shoot the cops. But it turns out the cops know and let them go.
  • Sylvia doesn't want Mike to go to Mexico with Jim and tells him so. But when challenged, Mike chooses to go with Jim (since he's going to take a job working in Columbia), thus resulting in him and Sylvia being quite mad at each other.
  • Jim, Mike, and Toussant have beer and then litter their cans before driving off.
  • After learning that Marta is pregnant (by him), Jim tells her she'll go to a doctor (for an abortion). She says she won't and he asks what if he punched her in the belly, prompting her to smack him. He then grabs her by the throat and holds his gun to her chin, and we see his flashbacks to war violence, mixed with him kissing on her (still with his gun on her) as she's scared to death. Mike then comes across this, interrupts them and Marta flees.
  • Jim tells Mike that they have 20 kilos of "weed" in the trunk and did so as they crossed the border back into the U.S.
  • Jim kills various people in the film without any guilt.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" and "Blood/Gore" may be unsettling, suspenseful or scary to younger viewers and/or those with low tolerance levels for such material.
  • Jim tries to escape from a former lover's house when her boyfriend comes home, but the guy and his crew (men and one woman) catch and surround him out on the street. They proceed to punch and hit him, with Jim eventually beating them off him when Mike shows up and tosses him a gun, thus meaning they've gained control of the situation.
  • A man in a bar suddenly cuts another man's throat with a broken bottle, killing him with lots of resultant blood (that bothers Mike but not Jim).
  • Mike drinks and drives, while Jim also drinks in the car. A cop then pulls them over, with Mike panicking that his license has expired and Jim wants to shoot the cops. But it turns out the cops know and let them go.
  • After learning that Marta is pregnant (by him), Jim tells her she'll go to a doctor (for an abortion). She says she won't and he asks what if he punched her in the belly, prompting her to smack him. He then grabs her by the throat and holds his gun to her chin, and we see his flashbacks to war violence, mixed with him kissing on her (still with his gun on her) as she's scared to death. Mike then comes across this, interrupts them and Marta flees.
  • Becoming progressively unhinged (due to a number of issues), Jim holds his gun to Mike's neck, scaring him.
  • While trying to sell some pot to another guy, Jim encounters some thugs from before, resulting in a gun standoff between Jim and one of them. When Mike makes a distraction, Jim then shoots four of the men dead (we see the first three -- with some bloody results -- and hear the fourth shooting).
  • A man opens fire with a shotgun on a fleeing car. We see the shot enter the car in slow motion, going through the trunk and then into the back of the front seat, severely wounding the person there (with very bloody results). We then see the side of that person's head that has a very bloody and gory wound (and lots of blood elsewhere on him, including his hand), and he tells the driver that he (the driver) must shoot him (in a mercy killing). The driver says he can't, but eventually gives in. We see the gun pointed at the wounded man's head and then hear the shot and see the flash of light, but don't see the impact.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns /Shotgun: Carried and/or used to threaten, wound or kill others. See "Violence" for details.
  • Jim and Mike repeatedly try to sell an expensive handgun they stole from some thugs who were earlier beating up Jim.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "Let's get the f*ck out of here," "F*ck it," "I'm f*cked," "Hard m*therf*ckers," "F*ck you," "F*cking up the plan," "What the f*ck does that mean?" "You're f*cked," "This is f*cking bullsh*t," "F*cking chill," "I want to get f*cked up," "Out-f*cking-standing," "You f*cking asshole," "You f*cked up," "You deaf f*ck," "Oh f*ck," "F*cking relax," "F*ck yeah," "Don't f*cking trip," "That's f*cking sick," "Why don't you go f*ck yourself," "F*ck 'em," "Ya'll some devious m*therf*ckers," "Bitch ass m*therf*cker," "F*ck this sh*t up," "Get the f*ck out of here," "Crazy f*ckers," "That's f*cked up," "You're f*cking nuts," "F*ck this," "F*ck this sh*t (up)," "Rise and f*cking shine," "F*ck off," "I don't give a f*ck," "F*ck me" (nonsexual), "You crazy m*therf*cker," "You're seriously f*cked up," "You're a f*ck-up," "You dumb f*ck," "F*cking p*ssy," "You f*cking sh*t-bag," "Real trippy sh*t," "True sh*t" "Piece of sh*t," "Holy sh*t," "Oh sh*t," "That sh*t is righteous," "Chilled on that sh*t," "Wrong ass sh*t," "Check this sh*t out," "Got his sh*t together," "You're gonna sh*t your pants," "Sh*t, man," "This sh*t is real," "Sh*tty," "No sh*t," "My sh*t is on fire," "Cuz you're a d*ck," "D*ckhead," "I want to get laid," "Navy sucks" (followed by "Army swallows"), "Since you were swimming in your daddy's balls," "She's a freak" (sexual), "You just give 'em hell," "You look like a gift-wrapped turd," "What up, dawg?" "Dude," "She's pissed," "Homey," "Dumb ass," "Gonna kick your ass," "Chino" (for an Asian man), "Be-atches" (bitches), "Bitch ass," "Fags," "Big ass," "Bitches" (men)," "Hell yeah," "Faggot," "Whiz quiz" (urine test), "Full of piss and vinegar," "Hadjis" (Iraqis), "You're killing my buzz," "Hell no," "D-amn" (exaggerated), "Don't sound like a fag," "Sweet ass," "Twisted ass," "You're a freaking psycho," "I see dumb people," "Dirt-bag," "Broads," "Scumbags," "Ass wipe," "Bad ass," "You're such an asshole," "Kiss my ass," "Chill, dude," "I'm a soldier of the apocalypse," "Balls" (testicles), "You can 12-step off, bitch" and "Don't bitch out on me."
  • Some kids might be enticed to imitate Jim's intense behavior and personality.
  • A woman gives "the finger" to Jim.
  • Needing to pass a drug test for a job interview with Homeland Security, Jim drinks straight vinegar, stating that it shuts down the kidneys. We then see the motion of him injecting what's presumably someone else's urine into his own penis via a turkey baster (to pass off as his own).
  • Jim and Mike have tattoos.
  • Both men drive while intoxicated and/or high on drugs.
  • Jim, Mike, and Toussant have beer and then litter their cans before driving off.
  • Jim gives "the finger" to no one in particular while driving.
  • Some miscellaneous guys have tattoos.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • A man in a bar suddenly cuts another man's throat with a broken bottle, killing him with lots of resultant blood (that bothers Mike but not Jim).
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A heavy amount of suspenseful and ominous music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • Various songs had lyrics that we couldn't fully hear and/or understand, thus presenting the possibility of them potentially containing objectionable material. That said, we did hear at least 1 use each of the "f" and "s" words.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 296 "f" words (29 used with "mother," 3 used sexually as are terms such as "laid," "hit(ting) it," "pop," "getting any," "boned," "tearing it up," "got all up in that" and "pounded"), 145 "s" words, 9 slang terms using male genitals ("d*ck" and "pr*ck"), 2 using female ones ("p*ssy"), 42 asses (9 used with "hole"), 15 damns, 7 hells, 1 crap, 1 S.O.B., 3 uses of "G-damn" and 1 use each of "God" and "Jesus Christ."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • The camera focuses on Sylvia's butt in a short skirt, representing Jim's view of her. He then makes a comment about "loving my woman" while drawing an imaginary outline of a woman's curvy body with his hands.
  • Jim and Mike stare at a miscellaneous woman's cleavage, prompting Jim to state, "I want to get laid." Other sexual comments are made, including about a woman having skills, while phrases such as "hit it" and "pop that booty" are made.
  • Jim then goes to see a past lover who shows cleavage and isn't happy to see him (nor is another woman there). She says she's with another guy now, and Jim asks, "You're not f*cking him are you?" (she says she is). Later, Mike wants Jim to pay him since they had bet about whether Jim would be "getting any" from her.
  • While frisking some thugs to rob them, Jim twice feels the one woman's clothed butt.
  • Jim makes a comment about a woman not being pregnant, but then says something presumably sexual about her wanting him to do something to her.
  • Among things Jim pulls out of his pocket is a condom with the comment made about it being extra large.
  • Joking about a drug dealer having been in prison, there are sexual jokes about "tickling your brown eye" (anus) and such.
  • Mike and Jim spot a bar waitress in a short skirt, while cleavage is also seen, prompting Jim to state, "I do need to get laid." They then chat with a woman, but a violent act stops anything from happening. Moments later, Jim complains that he could have "boned" the woman, adding something about her having the proper thickness (or something like that).
  • Mike kisses on Sylvia, but she gets out of the mood when she learns that he was deceiving her (about getting phone calls about job interviews).
  • A federal interviewer playfully taunts a colleague, "Navy sucks," with the other immediately responding, "Army swallows."
  • Putting Jim in his place during a polygraph test, an older man tells Jim he's been doing something "since you were swimming in your daddy's balls."
  • After hearing that Mike got a real job, Sylvia passionately kisses him while standing, and we see the top of her thong as well as a tattoo (on her lower back/top of her butt). Meanwhile, Jim and Toussant are waiting outside to go to Mexico, so Jim goes inside. Mike then comes out of the bedroom, stating that he's "tearing it up" and "hitting it" with Sylvia (sex) and thus doesn't want to leave.
  • Talking about Marta, Jim says he "got all up in that" (sex) and says something about what sounded like "pounded that fish."
  • Jim talks of having sex with Marta or her sister in the past, with something else about "pubes" (pubic hair).
  • Jim comments that a woman is a freak (meaning sexual), with Mike asking if he "f*cked" her. Jim says he didn't, but wanted to.
  • Jim tells Mike to dance with a woman in Mexico, but when Mike is reluctant about cheating on Sylvia, Jim says, "There's a big gap between dancing and f*cking" (convincing Mike who then dances with the woman).
  • Jim and Marta passionately kiss in the backseat of a parked car, but she then says she can't. Thinking she's talking about having her period, Jim says that a little blood never scared him and then proceeds to kiss on her clothed breast. She then tells him that soon they'll have milk (meaning she's pregnant).
  • SMOKING
  • Jim smokes at least 10 times and Mike smokes around 5 times.
  • After a store clerk tells Mike he can't sell individual packs of cigarettes, Jim opens one pack and takes a few cigarettes.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • None of the traditional sense, although Mike and Sylvia (who live together as boyfriend/girlfriend) have some tense moments.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • How ex-military people do and don't adapt to civilian life.
  • Drug use and trying to beat drug tests.
  • People who are or were bad being in positions of authority.
  • Both men drive while intoxicated and/or high on drugs.
  • After learning that Marta is pregnant (by him), Jim tells her she'll go to a doctor (for an abortion). She says she won't and he asks what if he punched her in the belly, prompting her to smack him.
  • VIOLENCE
  • We see a green, nighttime vision goggle view of a battle in Iraq where one soldier kills another with a knife (we hear the act but don't see any blood), followed by what appears to be a concussion grenade that knocks various people backwards. That's followed by gunfire from machine guns and handguns that hits some Iraqi soldiers (no blood). We see then see Jim wake up from this in Mexico.
  • Upset when some guy glances over at him in a car, Jim gets out of his and throws his beer bottle at the other car.
  • Coming out of a store, Jim and Mike see a foot chase with one person shooting at another (and they duck down behind a parked car). They then turn and see the store clerk standing there with his gun just in case.
  • Jim tries to escape from a former lover's house when her boyfriend comes home, but the guy and his crew (men and one woman) catch and surround him out on the street. They proceed to punch and hit him, with Jim eventually beating them off him when Mike shows up and tosses him a gun, thus meaning they've gained control of the situation.
  • A man in a bar suddenly cuts another man's throat with a broken bottle, killing him with lots of resultant blood (that bothers Mike but not Jim).
  • After learning that Marta is pregnant (by him), Jim tells her she'll go to a doctor (for an abortion). She says she won't and he asks what if he punched her in the belly, prompting her to smack him. He then grabs her by the throat and holds his gun to her chin, and we see his flashbacks to war violence, mixed with him kissing on her (still with his gun on her) as she's scared to death. Mike then comes across this, interrupts them and Marta flees.
  • Becoming progressively unhinged (due to a number of issues), Jim holds his gun to Mike's neck, scaring him.
  • While trying to sell some pot to another guy, Jim encounters some thugs from before, resulting in a gun standoff between Jim and one of them. When Mike makes a distraction, Jim then shoots four of the men dead (we see the first three -- with some bloody results -- and hear the fourth shooting).
  • A man opens fire with a shotgun on a fleeing car. We see the shot enter the car in slow motion, going through the trunk and then into the back of the front seat, severely wounding the person there (with very bloody results). We then see the side of that person's head that has a very bloody and gory wound (and lots of blood elsewhere on him, including his hand), and he tells the driver that he (the driver) must shoot him (in a mercy killing). The driver says he can't, but eventually gives in. We see the gun pointed at the wounded man's head and then hear the shot and see the flash of light, but don't see the impact.



  • Reviewed October 24, 2006 / Posted November 10, 2006

    Other new reviews available this week include:

    [Bears] [A Haunted House 2] [Heaven Is For Real] [The Railway Man] [Transcendence]

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