Sudden Death

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3

Content: -2

Martial-arts expert Jean-Claude Van Damme sizzles in this film about the Stanley Cup Hockey finals. It is the seventh game of the finals, and the Pittsburgh Penguins are battling the Chicago Blackhawks. About 17,000 frenzied fans, including the Vice President of the United States, look on. Behind the scenes, an elite group of extortionists, disguised as police officers and security guards, has muscled its way into the Vice President's box. Their goal is to get government funds transferred from prestigious banks into selected accounts. Van Damme plays Darren McCord, a fireman with a troubled past. On duty as the fire marshall at the game, McCord becomes aware of the terrorist plot slowly. But when his young daughter (Whittni Wright) is taken hostage, he takes action to defuse the bombs the terrorists have set. The film's incredible special effects and Van Damme's martial arts prowess can't overcome a weak, flimsy plot.

The intense, non-stop, in-your-face violence overrides this otherwise suspenseful film. Scene after gruesome scene flashes before the viewer's eyes as he watches people knifed, beaten, and hacked to death. An especially distasteful episode includes two people viciously fighting in the kitchen. The "coupe de gras" comes as McCord forces his opponent, a woman, onto a conveyer belt, and we assume she is chopped to pieces. The film also contains many obscenities and a few regular profanities. Brief rear-male nudity is shown once in the men's locker room, but there is no sexual dialogue or situations. SUDDEN DEATH'S excessive violence and foul language send all the wrong messages about what's entertaining.

Preview Reviewer: Bonnie C. Harvey, Ph.D.
Universal Pictures, 100 Universal City Plaza, Universal City, CA 91608

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Several (6) times - Mild 2, Moderate 4

Obscene Language: Many (15) times (f-word 11, s-word 4)

Profanity: Few (4) times - Regular (J-C, Ch, J, C)

Violence: Many times - Severe and excessive (many fights with knives, guns and other weapons; man set on fire; close-ups of bloody killings of people shot in head and chest; death threats carried out)

Sex: None

Nudity: Once (brief rear male nudity in men's locker room)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Drinking and smoking in bar

Other: Terrorist admits he learned his trade while working for Secret Service; cheapness of life expressed in thrill killings

Running Time:
Intended Audience: Older teenagers and adults

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