Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"


Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.


Watch This Review

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Movie Review

The stage magicians known as the Four Horsemen are on the lam. Or at least they're keeping their cards hidden and their bunnies stashed for the time being.

No wonder: Their last performance featured something of a Robin Hood heist right in the middle of its flashy prestidigitations. And since that escapade, the group has been lying low in hopes that the FBI and the über-rich guy they swindled start looking in other directions.

When you love the spotlight and applause as much as this group does, though, you still long to dramatically wave your hand and conjure up an impressive illusion in public once again. So mentalist Merritt McKinney, nimble-fingered cardist Jack Wilder, magician J. Daniel Atlas and new female member, Lula, a chop-your-hand-off illusionist, seek out a new caper they can alakazam the world with.

They decide to hijack the launch of a new mobile phone that's set to steal the privacy of many a Tom, Dick and Harry. The villainous phone tycoon behind it all will surely be dazzled by the Horsemen and rue the day he decided to step on the little guys of the world.

But, oops, for all of their planning, that's not how the crowd-wowing stunt plays out.

Before you can say bibbidi-bobbidi-boo, the Four Horsemen themselves are "magically" swept off to China—captured and blackmailed by Walter Tressler, a millionaire baddie who's supposed to be dead. They'll need to perform a really big illusionary larceny for him if they ever hope to get back home.

Oh dear, what's a group of underground tricksters to do? How will they wriggle out of this Houdini-proof straightjacket?

Why, they'll pull off the biggest magic trick ever, of course.


Positive Elements

Self-sacrifice shows up onstage from time to time as the Horsemen do things that show they care for one another. (Their grand gestures only go so far, I'll note.) They also have a desire to help the downtrodden while exposing the malevolent rich and powerful.

Spiritual Content

Atlas performs a trick involving a sprinkler system and strobe lights that he says even "God can't do." The Horsemen's moniker, of course, is a reference to Revelation's Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Sexual Content

Some female characters wear tops that reveal cleavage. Lula flirts repeatedly with Jack, and she talks about picturing each other naked to calm their stage nerves. They kiss at one point. Billionaire Arthur Tressler tells his son, Walter, that "there were so many women, I don't know whose bast--d you are."

Violent Content

FBI agent Dylan Rhodes is established early on as the unofficial "fifth Horseman," connected to the group through a mysterious organization called The Eye. In that role he encounters a number of situations where he's pummeled and battered. Thugs working for Tressler punch Dylan in the upper body and face, bloodying and bruising him. They also lock him in a safe that they dump into the ocean, nearly drowning him before he's rescued. (We see Dylan's father locked in a similar safe and drowned in flashback.)

Several characters on motorcycles fall off their bikes and tumble on the road. One of the bikes hits another vehicle and explodes. The Horsemen are beaten and thrown out of an airborne airplane.

Lula stages a pair of gory illusions, one in which she appears to saw off her hand with a meat slicer and another where she seems to guillotine her own head.

Crude or Profane Language

One f-word and six or seven s-words are joined by over a dozen uses of "h---" and a couple uses each of "d--n" and "a--." Jesus' and God's names are misused a half-dozen times (with "God" and "d--n" being combined once). A guy flips his middle finger at someone.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Arthur and Walter each drink a glass of champagne.

Other Negative Elements

The Horsemen break whatever rules or laws are necessary to perform their public stunts. Jack admits that he tends to steal from any girl who gets emotionally close to him. Someone's hair implants are compared to pubic hair.


If you've ever seen a magic act worth its abracadabra, you know it does two things well: It generally keeps its audience entertained with jokey patter and then surprises them with a visual dazzlement that leaves them grinning. That's what a local prestidigitator did before the press screening I attended for Now You See Me 2. He wandered the rows of theater seats performing little oh-my-goodness-how-did-that-happen card tricks and sleights-of-hand.

That introductory trickery was enjoyable.

The film it prefaced? Not so much.

While slightly less content-riddled than its predecessor, Now You See Me 2 is a big-budget sequel that packs a lot more ridiculous and pointless CGI flash up its cinematic sleeves than anything approaching artful maneuvering. The story tries to be smart but gets caught up so often in its own poorly plotted Chinese finger traps that it simply feels preposterous. There are plot holes here big enough to drive a herd of magic-hat bunnies through.

Make that a herd of irritating and generally foul-mouthed magic-hat bunnies.

By the time our screening audience had sat through more than two hours of this stuff, I'm sure there were many, like me, who wished that the local magic guy had done a few more tricks. You know, like one that makes the movie reviewer disappear.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!