The Contractor Parent Guide
Somehow this mediocre film is less than the sum of its parts.
Parent Movie Review
Once a decorated member of the U.S. Army Rangers, Special Forces Sergeant James Harper (Chris Pine) has been discharged without pension for taking unprescribed medication to treat an ongoing, career-threatening knee injury. With a wife (Gillian Jacobs) and son (Sander Thomas) to support, and bills piling up (with interest), James is under a lot of pressure to find a new source of income. Although he swore he’d never work for mercenary outfits, his friend Mike (Ben Foster) offers to get him on board with a company he’s working for; one which ostensibly operates solely for the U.S. government on high-importance national security contracts. Resigned to making some compromises, James takes the job, and soon finds himself in Berlin tracking down a virologist called Salim (Fares Fares), a man allegedly attempting to create bioweapons for a number of suspicious groups…but things aren’t what they seem, and soon James is thrust into a world of betrayal, mistrust, and murder.
This is a film which tries to take a swipe at some bigger issues, but which fails to scratch the surface. Rather than a thoughtful look at the military industrial complex, mercenary corporations, and government misbehavior, the movie uses them like set decoration for a by-the-numbers action thriller composed almost entirely of unoriginal clichés. The emotion the film best elicits is a creeping familiarity, an unshakeable sense that you’ve seen all of this before somewhere else. That’s a feeling that only intensifies once the movie dives right into a major conspiracy involving governments trying to suppress vaccine formulae to make millions from the patents after releasing a dangerous virus. If I wanted to hear paranoid conspiracy theories, I’d just check some of my stranger relatives’ Facebook pages.
With a cast that includes stars like Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Kiefer Sutherland, Gillian Jacobs, and Eddie Marsan, you might have expected the film to rise above a trope-laden screenplay, but you would be wrong. If anything, the film is less than the sum of its parts, a hollow and cheap piece of entertainment trying to mask its inadequacies in celebrity. The film’s only draw is its violent action sequences, which aren’t terrible, but aren’t anything special either and which have nothing to offer genre fans.
So while The Contractor clearly isn’t a kids movie, I’d go further and argue that this isn’t an anyone movie. Blithely regurgitating trope after trope like a mama bird trying to feed its young, The Contractor only manages to make a mess. And, believe it or not, I don’t find wading through a film’s reeking vomit a pleasurable experience.Directed by Tarik Saleh. Starring Chris Pine, Gillian Jacobs, Ben Foster. Running time: 103 minutes. Theatrical release May 6, 2022. Updated May 6, 2022
Watch the trailer for The Contractor
Rating & Content Info
Why is The Contractor rated R? The Contractor is rated R by the MPAA for violence
Violence: People are repeatedly shot and killed. Others are stabbed, beaten to death, poisoned, or blown up. There are references to suicide.
Sexual Content: There is a brief non-explicit reference to rape. There is brief non-sexual male posterior nudity.
Profanity: There are 34 uses of sexual expletives, 14 uses of scatological curses, and infrequent use of mild curses and terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adult characters are seen drinking socially and smoking tobacco.
Page last updated May 6, 2022
The Contractor Parents' Guide
What are private military contractors? How many of these companies operate in your country? What is their role in modern conflicts? How are these organizations regulated?
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Similar trope-riddled action flicks include Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit(also starring Chris Pine), Tom Clancy’s Without Remorse, Blacklight, The 355, American Assassin, and Trigger Point. This film wishes it was the far superior The Bourne Identity: viewers will likely also enjoy sequels The Bourne Supremacyand The Bourne Ultimatum.