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"STOP-LOSS"
(2008) (Ryan Phillippe, Abbie Cornish) (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 Minor Heavy Extreme
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy Moderate Heavy Heavy Extreme


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: When he learns he's being sent back to Iraq yet another time after his contract is up, an Army sergeant goes AWOL in his quest to find anyone who can reverse the decision.
PLOT:
Brandon King (RYAN PHILLIPPE), Steve Shriver (CHANNING TATUM) and Tommy Burgess (JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT) are longtime friends who are happy to have safely returned to their small Texas town after a tour of duty in Tikrit, Iraq. Brandon feels responsible, however, for some in their squad who were killed or badly wounded in an ambush he now thinks he should have avoided.

Even so, his parents -- Roy (CIARAN HINDS) and Ida (LINDA EMOND) -- are pleased he's home, which also holds true for Steve's fiancée, Michelle (ABBIE CORNISH), while their superior officer, Lt. Col. Boot Miller (TIMOTHY OLYPHANT), orders all of them to be on their best behavior. Unfortunately, the emotional and psychological stress of what they encountered in country has followed them home. That's only exacerbated by their drinking, which is particularly true for Tommy whose new bride kicks him out of their home for that.

Yet, the biggest shock comes for Brandon who learns that he's been stop-lossed. That is, despite having fulfilled his contract with the military, the sergeant has been ordered back to active duty in Iraq. For a variety of reasons he doesn't want to go, but when Miller commands that he follow those orders, Brandon goes on the run.

With Michelle offering to drive, the two set out for Washington, D.C. where Brandon hopes to meet with a politician he believes can help rescind that order. From that point on, and as he deals with the repercussions of his act, Brandon tries to prove that the military's decision is wrong, if not illegal.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Some teens might be enticed, particularly if they're interested in the Iraq War and the military, and/or are fans of anyone in the cast.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: R
For graphic violence and pervasive language.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • RYAN PHILLIPPE plays an Army sergeant who feels guilty about leading his men into an ambush. He uses strong profanity, drinks, and goes AWOL when he learns he's being sent back to Iraq despite having fulfilled his obligation with the military.
  • ABBIE CORNISH his friend since childhood and Steve's current fiancée who decides to help him on his quest to have his stop-loss order rescinded. She smokes a few times and drinks shots with Brandon.
  • CHANNING TATUM plays his best friend and fellow soldier who's having a hard time adjusting to life back home. He uses strong profanity, drinks, and doesn't support Brandon's decision to go AWOL (and isn't happy that his fiancée is helping him). Thus, he repeatedly tries to convince him to come back, and briefly fights with him.
  • JOSEPH GORDON-LEVITT plays another friend and fellow soldier who turns to a lot of drinking to deal with his emotional and psychological issues (that include his new wife kicking him out due to his behavior). He uses strong profanity, and shoots his unopened wedding gifts while upset and intoxicated.
  • TIMOTHY OLYPHANT plays the men's superior officer who's upset with Brandon's attitude about being called back to active duty. He uses strong profanity.
  • 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:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this R-rated drama. Profanity consists of at least 78 "f" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Sexually related dialogue is present, and a sexual gesture is made, while cleavage is seen, as are some shirtless men.

    Violence includes a war ambush and gun battle where various people on both sides are wounded or killed, some with very bloody and graphic wounds. Flashbacks show other deadly war violence, while there are several scenes of fighting, and some men shoot unopened wedding gifts with guns. Some of the material may be unsettling and/or suspenseful for viewers, while various characters have varying degrees of bad attitudes. Some of the action and behavior might be enticing for some kids to imitate.

    Various characters drink, sometimes a lot, with one noted as having a drinking problem. That leads to one element of the tense family material that's present, while some smoking also occurs. Thematic elements (about the Iraq War, the stop-loss procedure, etc.) are also present.

    Should you still be concerned about the film's appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home, you may want to look more closely at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, varying amounts of handheld camerawork (sometimes quite bouncy) occur in the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • Miller lays down the rules for his men on leave, telling them (among other things) that they will not drink and drive.
  • Brandon talks of the things he loves about the town, including a certain place's beer.
  • One of the soldiers' friends holds a beer at a parade.
  • We see various people (including Steve, Brandon and Tommy) drinking beer and shots at a party, with Steve being drunk. Tommy picks a fight in that state, while Steve is still intoxicated later as he digs a foxhole in his front yard. Steve wakes up in a car trunk (presumably put there by Brandon and the others), appears hung-over, and then retrieves and has a beer.
  • Tommy drives into a pole while drunk, and then comments on waking up there.
  • Tommy gives Brandon a beer.
  • Steve wakes up in a car trunk (presumably put there by Brandon and the others), appears hung-over, and then retrieves and has a beer.. He, Brandon, Tommy and their friend drink while Tommy shoots his unopened wedding gifts with a shotgun (after his wife has kicked him out).
  • There's a comment about being "drunk as f*ck."
  • Brandon receives a telephone call that Tommy drunkenly drove into a storefront.
  • We see some miscellaneous people who appear intoxicated.
  • Michelle has tequila in a bar and many shots are placed in front of her, and she shares at least one with Brandon when he arrives. They then order more, and we see a brief montage of them drinking.
  • Tommy has a beer and appears intoxicated. He then throws a beer bottle through a jewelry store window, breaking it.
  • We see miscellaneous drinking.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • During a gun battle, various U.S. soldiers and locals are shot and wounded or killed by that or explosives, with varying degrees of bloody and gory results. One soldier's face looks very bad, while blood splatters onto a wall when another soldier is shot.
  • Tommy's nose is slightly bloody following a fight.
  • Michelle has a slight black eye (presumably from Steve drunkenly punching her - not seen).
  • Brandon cuts up a dead rattlesnake (with slightly bloody results).
  • We see a flashback to previous war violence, including with bloody results.
  • Brandon's forehead has a big gash that's quite bloody after some guys beat him. Later, he still has blood on his forehead, and some has run down his face and chest.
  • Brandon has a flashback to war violence that includes bloody results.
  • We see one of Brandon's men in a military hospital. He's missing some limbs, his skin is badly burned/scarred, and he appears to be blind.
  • We see a flashback to Brandon encountering a man (with a child with him) who has a grenade. With no choice, Brandon shoots that man, thus riddling both him and the child with gunfire, killing them (with bloody results).
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Some may view the U.S. forces being in Iraq as representing a bad attitude from the Administration, while Iraqis and/or insurgents attack and then ambush U.S. soldiers, wounding and killing some of them.
  • At a checkpoint in Iraq, the U.S. soldiers check a vehicle, with one jokingly asking if they have any Mexicans in there.
  • After a man asks Tommy's new wife to dance at a party, a drunken Tommy punches that man who then punches him back, followed by struggling and other punching.
  • A soldier uses the term "Hajji" for Iraqis.
  • We see that Steve ransacked his own home while drunk, and that he apparently punched Michelle (she has a slight black eye).
  • Some may view Brandon's reaction to being stop-lossed as unpatriotic (he definitely goes AWOL, disobeying direct orders and such, including when he tells Miller, "With all due respect, sir, f*ck the President").
  • Some may view Michelle as having a bad attitude for trying to help escort Brandon to Washington, D.C. in hopes of getting his stop-loss order rescinded.
  • Brandon and Michelle come outside to find her car window broken. Brandon then walks around the corner and spots some guys who stole their stuff and he confronts those men who then attack him.
  • Brandon meets another soldier who's AWOL and is planning to take his family to Canada.
  • Some may see Michelle as having a bad attitude for telling Steve she can't be a war wife (after he reenlists for sniper school without discussing that decision with her).
  • Brandon pays a man to change his identity forever, but doesn't end up going through with that. He also nearly flees to Mexico, but similarly changes his mind.
  • Steve mentions knowing Brandon since they were stealing Playboy magazines in their youth.
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • Scenes listed under "Violence," "Blood/Gore" and "Jump Scenes" may also be unsettling or suspenseful to viewers.
  • At a checkpoint in Iraq, a vehicle races toward the roadblock, and the U.S. soldiers fire a warning shot to make them stop. After careful checking, they let that car pass. Another quickly approaches, but the men inside it open fire on the checkpoint, with the U.S. soldiers returning fire. They then give chase, ending up in an alley where those fleeing get out of their vehicle and disappear. The soldiers also get out and slowly walk around with their guns drawn, but realize too late that it's a trap, as armed men open fire on them from rooftops and windows. Gunfire is returned and then exchanged, while RPGs hit several vehicles that then explode. People are shot and wounded or killed on both sides, with varying degrees of bloody and gory results (the scene is very intense). A grenade is thrown inside a room to kill others (also with bloody results), while some presumably innocent people are also killed. During this, Steve is injured and Brandon must rescue him, killing others to do so.
  • Brandon shoots a rattlesnake that was by Steve (we don't see the impact), and then cuts up the dead snake, including cutting off its head.
  • Brandon imagines seeing a fully dressed soldier at the bottom of a pool, so he dives in to save the man who isn't there.
  • Brandon and Michelle come outside to find her car window broken. Brandon then walks around the corner and spots some guys who stole their stuff and he confronts them. One then punches Brandon, then all of them hit him, including with a bat. He then gets the upper hand, however, beating up all of them and disarming one who has a knife and another who has a gun. Brandon then has them all get on their knees and fires two shots just over them. He appears ready to lose it (as he has an aural flashback to war violence), and Michelle has to talk him down, and takes the gun from him.
  • We see a flashback to Brandon encountering a man (with a child with him) who has a grenade. With no choice, Brandon shoots that man, thus riddling both him and the child with gunfire, killing them (with bloody results). That's followed by a grenade explosion.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Handguns/Rifles/Shotguns/Machine guns/Missiles/Various Explosives including grenades/Knife/Tank: Carried and/or used to threaten, wound or kill others and/or cause property damage. See "Violence" for details.
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "F*cker(s)," "Get the guys the f*ck out of here," "F*ck it," "F*ck all ya'll," "Are you f*cking deaf?" "F*cking A," "What the f*ck you think?" "F*cking robo-soldier," "You've been busting my f*cking balls all day," "(I) f*cked up," "Gotta get a f*cking grip," "With all due respect, sir, f*ck the President," "Don't you f*cking touch me," "Drunk as f*ck," "You're f*cking AWOL," "You're in deep f*cking sh*t," "Get the f*ck out of here," "You're f*cking up," "Oh f*ck," "For five-f*cking years," "That was f*cked up," "That makes no f*cking sense," "F*ck you, man," "We're both f*cked," "Sounds like a f*cking horror movie," "No f*cking way," "It's f*cking strong," "Shut the f*ck up," "Urban cowboy bullsh*t," "Until I get my sh*t together," "This sir, is bullsh*t," "I lost my sh*t," "Sh*t-storm," "You got my sh*t, asshole," "Sh*t-bag," "That's bullsh*t," "AWOL sh*t-bags," "Are we gonna shoot that sh*t up?" "Get your ass in there now," "You're a hell of a shot," "Hajji (bastard)," "Pisses me off," "What the hell?" "I'm not scared, I'm pissed off," "That is a big-ass mistake" and "Dumb ass."
  • Some of the action, fighting and other stunts might be enticing for some kids to imitate.
  • Various characters have varying amounts and styles of tattoos.
  • One male soldier jokingly makes a male oral sex gesture with a finger in his mouth that creates a bulge in his cheek.
  • A woman wears a midriff-revealing top.
  • Steve, Brandon, Tommy and their friend drink while Tommy shoots his unopened wedding gifts with a shotgun (after his wife has kicked him out). Steve then uses a rifle to do the same, but then asks if they can stop with the shooting (due to him being hung-over). Brandon then fires a shot by him, angering him, but then shows that he shot a nearby rattlesnake (we don't see the impact).
  • Waking up with a hangover, Steve dunks his head in a cooler filled with ice water.
  • We see a flashback to Tommy playfully giving "the finger" to someone.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • A soldier bursts into a room.
  • Gunfire in a 21-gun salute might startle some viewers with the first shot (as the scene comes unexpectedly).
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A minor bit of suspenseful music plays in the film.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • A song includes the line "f*ck it," while one in the end credits also includes at least 1 "f" word.
  • A song has lyrics that we couldn't fully hear and/or understand, thus presenting the possibility of them containing objectionable material.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 78 "f" words (2 used with "mother," 2 used sexually), 29 "s" words, 2 slang terms for breasts ("t*ts" and "t*tties"), 8 asses (1 used with "hole"), 7 hells, 4 damns, 10 uses of "G-damn" and 1 use each of "Oh God," "Oh my Lord" and "Swear to God."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • We briefly see cell phone video footage of a woman starting to open her shirt. We don't see any nudity, but there are excited comments about seeing her "t*ts" and "t*tties."
  • We see some shirtless male soldiers.
  • One male soldier jokingly makes a male oral sex gesture with a finger in his mouth that creates a bulge in his cheek.
  • Miller lays down the rules for his men on leave, telling them (among other things) that they will not "f*ck" anyone under the age of 18. The "f" word is used again sexually, while one soldier tells the others that some girl he apparently was with said she was 18.
  • Steve passionately kissed Michelle who shows some cleavage, while we see other passionate kissing (at a homecoming for the soldiers).
  • A woman wears a cleavage-revealing top.
  • We see Steve in just his small shorts or boxers as he drunkenly digs a foxhole in his front yard.
  • Michelle states that a woman at the base told her not to rush into fooling around with Steve too soon upon his return from Iraq.
  • We see a miscellaneous shirtless man.
  • We see Brandon shirtless.
  • When Brandon visits one of his injured men and says that Michelle has only given him a ride, the man jokingly asks if she was giving him "a ride" before or after Michelle broke up with Steve.
  • Steve mentions knowing Brandon since they were stealing Playboy magazines in their youth.
  • SMOKING
  • Michelle and Brandon's mom each smoke several times, while Brandon and Tommy each smoke at least once, and some miscellaneous smoking also occurs.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • We hear that Tommy's new bride has thrown him out of the house (due to his drinking problems).
  • Steve, Brandon, Tommy and their friend drink while Tommy shoots his unopened wedding gifts with a shotgun (after his wife has kicked him out). We later hear that Tommy has a restraining order against him.
  • Brandon and Michelle visit the parents of one of the men in his squad who was killed in the ambush. They want to know the details of their son's death and are grateful that Brandon stopped by to see them, but the young man's adult brother is angry, saying his brother died for nothing.
  • We hear that a troubled soldier committed suicide by shooting himself. We then see the funeral.
  • A soldier's parents look distressed upon their son returning to active duty.
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • The practice of stop-lossing soldiers (calling them back to active duty after their contract-based tour or tours of duty are over), and the allegation that it's a backdoor draft.
  • The war in Iraq.
  • Going AWOL.
  • Alcoholism.
  • The emotional and psychological repercussions of having been at war.
  • We see one of Brandon's men in a military hospital. He's missing some limbs, his skin is badly burned/scarred, and he appears to be blind. We also see Michelle playing pool with another soldier who only has one arm (the other is artificial, as are his legs).
  • A soldier stating that anyone in a place like Iraq has to develop a kill or be killed mentality.
  • We hear that a troubled soldier committed suicide by shooting himself. We then see the funeral.
  • Brandon nearly flees to Mexico, but then reconsiders.
  • VIOLENCE
  • We see some combat training where soldiers hit each other with huge pads on their arms.
  • At a checkpoint in Iraq, a vehicle races toward the roadblock, and the U.S. soldiers fire a warning shot to make them stop. After careful checking, they let that car pass. Another quickly approaches, but the men inside it open fire on the checkpoint, with the U.S. soldiers returning fire. They then give chase, ending up in an alley where those fleeing get out of their vehicle and disappear. The soldiers also get out and slowly walk around with their guns drawn, but realize too late that it's a trap, as armed men open fire on them from rooftops and windows. Gunfire is returned and then exchanged, while RPGs hit several vehicles that then explode. People are shot and wounded or killed on both sides, with varying degrees of bloody and gory results (the scene is very intense). A grenade is thrown inside a room to kill others (also with bloody results), while some presumably innocent people are also killed. During this, Steve is injured and Brandon must rescue him, killing others to do so.
  • We see a montage of war-based fighting with gunfire, grenades and explosions.
  • After a man asks Tommy's new wife to dance at a party, a drunken Tommy punches that man who then punches him back, followed by struggling and other punching.
  • We see that Steve ransacked his own home while drunk, and that he apparently punched Michelle (she has a slight black eye).
  • Steve, Brandon, Tommy and their friend drink while Tommy shoots his unopened wedding gifts with a shotgun (after his wife has kicked him out). Steve then uses a rifle to do the same, but then asks if they can stop with the shooting (due to him being hung-over). Brandon then fires a shot by him, angering him, but then shows that he shot a nearby rattlesnake (we don't see the impact).
  • We see video of war footage with gunfire and a tank that drives over a vehicle, crushing it.
  • We see video footage of a fighter jet firing missiles that then explode upon impact.
  • After Miller orders two MPs (or similar military figures) to escort Brandon and make sure he returns to Iraq, Brandon knocks one of them off a platform and then punches him, followed by driving the other back into the platform wall (he then flees the scene in a vehicle).
  • We see a flashback to previous war violence, including with bloody results.
  • Brandon and Michelle come outside to find her car window broken. Brandon then walks around the corner and spots some guys who stole their stuff and he confronts them. One then punches Brandon, then all of them hit him, including with a bat. He then gets the upper hand, however, beating up all of them and disarming one who has a knife and another who has a gun. Brandon then has them all get on their knees and fires two shots just over them. He appears ready to lose it (as he has an aural flashback to war violence), and Michelle has to talk him down, and takes the gun from him.
  • Brandon has a flashback to war violence that includes bloody results.
  • Mad at him for reenlisting, Michelle twice pushes Steve backwards.
  • Tommy has a beer and appears intoxicated. He then throws a beer bottle through a jewelry store window, breaking it.
  • We see a flashback to Brandon encountering a man (with a child with him) who has a grenade. With no choice, Brandon shoots that man, thus riddling both him and the child with gunfire, killing them (with bloody results). That's followed by a grenade explosion.
  • We hear that a troubled soldier committed suicide by shooting himself. We then see the funeral.
  • Partially blaming Brandon for their friend's suicide, Steve punches Brandon in the gut and then throws him back against a cemetery headstone. The two then struggle, with blows exchanged, and ending when Brandon gets Steve in a headlock.



  • Reviewed March 19, 2008 / Posted March 28, 2008

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