Siege, The

MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +3

Content: -2 1/2

FBI Agent Anthony Hubbard (Denzel Washington) faces his greatest challenge as New York City becomes the object of terrorist bombings. It begins when a city bus is taken hostage but no passengers are killed. Next time, the Arab perpetrators warn they will blow up a bus. Although Anthony and his team are hot on the trail of likely suspects, they cannot prevent the promised tragedy. CIA undercover agent Elise Kraft (Annette Bening) joins the investigation in spite of Anthony's distrust of the CIA. However, Elise's years of living in the Middle East and her relationship with a key Arabian Muslim immigrant prove invaluable. The whole city panics, and demands for swift action intensify as more bombings kill hundreds. General Devereaux (Bruce Willis) brings in armed troops, declaring the city under martial law. Every male Arab between the ages of 14 and 40 is arrested and thrown into a huge stadium converted into a concentration camp. Which is worse - fear of no government control over terrorist attacks or oppressive government controls over thousands of innocent people? The Siege keeps audiences guessing and intrigued, but its theme raises disturbing questions and has provoked protests from Muslim community.

Many are killed in the bombings, but the cameras only scan the scenes. Agent Hubbard heroically offers himself as a substitute for the hostages on the bus, but, as he approaches, the bomb goes off. He suffers a bloody nose and temporary deafness. Later, when a school comes under attack, the children are safely evacuated. FBI agents ambush known terrorists with automatic weapons, and in a climatic showdown, a mortally wounded woman dies a slow death. Many f and s words also justify the film's R rating. Elise and her Arabian lover in a hotel room are under surveillance, and an infrared image of them having sex is displayed briefly on a screen. He is obviously nude but is only viewed from the stomach up. A naked prisoner sitting in a straight chair with his hands in his lap can later be heard screaming off-camera. The film casts a negative slant on a ruthless General who assumes all Arabian Muslims are terrorists. But Agent Hubbard realizes that those incarcerated are mostly decent people struggling to provide their families with a better life in the United States. The gratuitous f and s words and sex scenes seriously spoil this intensely violent action film.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Twentieth Century Fox, 10201 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90035

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 (7) times-Mild 2, Moderate 5

Obscene Language: Many (28) times (f word 14, s word 13, other 1)

Profanity: Once-Exclamatory (oh God)

Violence: Many times - Moderate and Severe (police chases, massive property destruction from bomb explosions kill many; man with bloody nose, woman dies from shot to stomach, raids on terrorists with automatic weapons; gun fights; sounds of torture heard)

Sex: Once (couple in hotel room observed by sophisticated surveillance equipment)

Nudity: None; Near Nudity: Twice (man in hotel room shown from stomach up; prisoner stripped, but hands in lap cover him)

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Few times (couple in hotel room talk suggestively)

Drugs: Few times (smoking, social drinking)

Other: Innocent people imprisoned; negative portrayal of Muslim religion as terrorist performs religious ritual

Running Time: 105 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.