WHY WE CARE


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."

YOUR STORIES


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!"

SUPPORT THE WORK OF PLUGGED IN

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.

PLUGGED IN RATING

    No Rating Available

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

Danny knows only one life; he’s the enslaved muscle behind a Glasgow mobster’s arm-twisting goon-in-chief, Bart. Dog collar on and Danny’s as docile as newborn puppy. Collar off and he becomes a rottweiler on steroids, crushing and mangling anyone Bart tells him to. After one bone-crushing encounter, a mysterious man who witnessed the mayhem approaches Bart with a proposal—entering Danny in an underground fight club where only one contender leaves the arena alive. Bart is not the type to turn down the potentially big money involved.

When not out causing generalized havoc, Danny is kept in a cage, where he looks at a children’s alphabet book. He’s drawn to the letters K (for kiss), L (for love) and P (for piano). So wouldn’t you know it, he winds up in a warehouse full of old pianos, where a kindly, blind, piano tuner named Sam comes to work. Through an improbable series of events, Danny is able to break free from Bart, and Sam brings the badly injured Danny back to his apartment.

The milk of human kindness, which includes sisterly kisses from Sam’s adopted daughter, Victoria, and, yes, a well-tuned piano slowly turn Danny from a killing machine into the picture of meekness. Unraveling the mystery of his origins, Danny learns that his attraction to pianos and beautiful music comes from the mother he barely knew.

Sound too good to be true? It is. Everything blows up again when Danny accidentally runs into one of Bart’s goons. That’s when the real battle for Danny’s soul begins.

Advertisement

Positive Elements

Sam and Victoria offer unconditional love to the strange man they’ve brought home. And their inclusion of him is permanent. Sam says, “That’s what families do; they stick together.” In turn, Danny sacrifices his own well-being to direct evil attentions away from Sam and Victoria, and eventually uses his impressive fighting skills in a life-or-death struggle to protect them. Once stimulated by love and affection, Danny refuses to kill for sport anymore.

Spiritual Content

In a large sense—and putting words in the filmmakers' mouths—the entire story can be seen as a metaphor for the power of selfless love to overcome the dark grip of sin and oppression. Bart’s enslavement of Danny and his mocking of Danny’s attempts to better himself ("You'll never be anything but a dog; you'll never escape what I made you") mirror what Satan says to us—that we’re hopeless sinners who will never benefit from the grace God offers us.

Bart’s motto for training his fighters, gotten from his mom, is “Get a man young enough and the possibilities are endless.” When informed that this is, roughly, the motto of the Jesuits, he says they probably stole it from his mom. (For the record, the Jesuits say, “Show me the child and I’ll give you the man.”) Sam and Victoria hold hands and say grace over a meal, and Sam’s final prayer request is, “Please make sure Victoria kicks butt in her upcoming piano recital.” Victoria promptly chides him, reminding him that he always taught her not to bother God with wants.

Sexual Content

Bart starts to have very rough sex with a hooker in a parking garage. We see her bare breasts, and the camera lingers as he pulls down her panties from beneath her dress. (When she sees Danny in his cage below, she flees.) A later encounter between Bart and another prostitute is again interrupted when the woman sees Danny, and again her breasts get screen time.

A brawl between Danny and Bart’s henchmen spills into a bathroom where a woman is showering (breast nudity, side nudity, then full frontal nudity barely disguised by her translucent shower curtain).

Bart tells Danny that his mother was a whore, then crudely describes the sexual things he did to her. Two men joke about having erections. Bart recounts a sexualized dream. As a reward, Bart offers to get Danny a woman, smirking, “You’ve never had a woman, have you?” A fight takes place in an art studio, with some nude female sculptures in view.

Violent Content

In two excruciating flashbacks, Danny sees his mother shot in the head. In one blood and gore sprays in slow motion as the bullets finds its mark, and in the other we see blood splatter across a wall.

The martial-arts violence is intense and bloody. Danny emerges from quite a few fights bloodied. On one occasion he collapses in a pool of blood. Weaponry used for lethal purposes includes guns, clubs, knives, spears and axes. Danny is not content to just hit, chop, stomp or kick once—we see multiple blows to heads, multiple head-butts to faces, multiple knees to guts, multiple elbows to faces. He pulls out a man’s hair and pounds a man’s face into the floor until he’s unconscious. There are repeated scenes of victims (Danny's and others') being stomped on and kicked. When Danny refuses to finish off an opponent, Bart kills the fighter with multiple gunshots.

Danny strangles a man with his own tie. When he bites a man's chest, we see blood spreading on his white shirt. In a fight to the death—at which a bloodthirsty crowd cheers at the carnage and boos when there's not enough "action"—a combatant's neck is snapped. Danny rams a spike through a man’s foot and smashes another’s head with a sledgehammer. Elsewhere, backs are broken, legs shattered and hands mangled.

A car is pulverized by a huge truck; gangsters then machinegun the survivors. Another wreck shows a car flipping through the air, and we see the battered bodies in the wreckage. Several scenes show men thrown through windows, and in one he falls several stories before crash landing on a car below.

Crude or Profane Language

Thirty uses of the f-word and about 10 uses of the s-word. British crudities include “bloody” and “w-nker.” “A--,“ “h---“ and “b--ch” are used several times each, as is crude slang for women’s breasts and male erections. Jesus' and God’s names get abused about five times.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Several characters smoke cigarettes. In one scene the image goes into slo-mo as the camera studies the rising smoke. Bart swigs wine and later says he wants to stop by a pub “and have a pint.” Bart is offered a glass of champagne.

Other Negative Elements

Bart repeatedly refers to Danny as his dog or a "retard." And it's not just talk. Bart and his goons treat Danny like an animal.

Conclusion

The poet William Congreve noted, “Music hath charms to soothe the savage beast.” And the French composer Hector Berlioz asked, “Which of these two powers, love or music, can elevate man to the sublimest heights? Why separate them? They are the two wings of the soul.”

If Unleashed’s director, Louis Leterrier, had concentrated on such lofty thoughts and skipped the over-the-top violence and crude sexual imagery, this might have been a poignant story, since both poet and composer are proved right by film's end. But then, Leterrier would have needed a better screenwriter, too. Writer Luc Besson has loaded this story with improbabilities (Danny just happens to wind up in a warehouse full of pianos where he's left unguarded) and absurdities (blind Sam can hear the almost imperceptible clicking of Danny’s signal light but can’t hear the slaughter and mayhem happening one floor below).

Besson has also made his characters utterly stupid when it’s convenient for the story. For example, Sam says, “Sometimes I worry about that boy. It’s as if someone or something has caused him to shut down.” You think!? Danny only came to you wearing a dog collar, blood pouring from his wounds, and he hides under his bed like a scared puppy anytime a stranger enters the room. And all Sam can say is, hmmm, I think there’s something wrong with the boy!

Unleashed can be easily summarized thus: Human kindness good. Hatred and violence bad. File under “Duh!” and save yourself two hours of hokey storytelling and senseless mayhem.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles

Profanity/Violence

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

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!