"Violent Revenge and Vigilante Justice Get the Upper Hand"
HE BRAVE ONE stars Jodie Foster and Terrence Howard in a thriller about a radio street poet in New York City who goes on a vigilante rampage when her fiancé is brutally beaten to death. THE BRAVE ONE is riveting but sometimes corny and unbelievable and has a message that ultimately endorses vigilante justice and violent revenge and that contains plenty of strong foul language, some disturbing violence, and brief R-rated sex and nudity.
THE BRAVE ONE is an unofficial remake of the 1974 Charles Bronson revenge/vigilante movie DEATH WISH. Like its predecessor, it is rated R, which means that THE BRAVE ONE not only contains very strong violence but also plenty of very strong foul language, an explicit sex scene and brief sexual nudity.
THE BRAVE ONE stars the talented Jodie Foster as Erica Bain, an artsy radio pundit in New York City who broadcasts poetic musings about the city and its people. One early evening, Erica and her live-in fiancé, David, take a jaunt to Central Park with their large dog. The dog chases a ball under a tunnel bridge but doesn’t return. When Erica and David go to search for their dog, they encounter a group of inner city thugs who have tied up their dog on his leash. The thugs mercilessly beat David to death and Erica into a coma.
Erica finally comes out of the coma, but her whole attitude as well as her life has been changed. She buys an illegal handgun and, with her microphone in tow, starts roaming the streets and subways at night instead of during the day. The first chance she gets, Erica blows away an angry man who just murdered his girlfriend while the girl is working at a corner mini mart. Erica decides she likes the power and feeling of justice she gets from doing this and seeks out other criminals.
On her second foray of vigilante revenge, Erica takes the risk of sticking around while the police investigate the double homicide she just committed against two black thugs who threatened her life. There, she encounters Detective Sean Mercer (played by Terrence Howard, another talented actor), a smart cop who recognizes Erica because of her local radio show, of which he happens to be a fan.
Mercer and Erica become friends, but Erica’s continuing vigilante activities and, eventually, her revenge against the cruel, evil men who ruthlessly murdered her boyfriend, put that friendship to the test.
THE BRAVE ONE is an exciting, emotionally riveting thriller, but the on-air radio dialogue is pretentious and unrealistic at times and a few scenes have corny moments. Furthermore, the first three vigilante situations are too coincidental. For example, I spent six years riding the subways in Chicago, and I only encountered one criminal event, a purse-snatcher (I wasn’t the one carrying the purse). Yet, the heroine here runs into three such events in only a few weeks. Also, it’s very unlikely that she would have run into a murder at a mini mart just after buying her first gun and especially after having her boyfriend murdered in front of her. What are the odds of that?
The other, more relevant, problem with THE BRAVE ONE is the fact that it endorses both vigilante justice and violent revenge without much, if any, ambiguity. Wounding or even shooting down murderers and would-be murderers in the act is one thing, but violent lawless revenge or going out of your way to find the average street or subway thug to kill him is another. This is true even if we can all agree that punishment of violent criminals in the United States and other western nations should be much tougher (regrettably and inexplicably, we don’t all agree on that, which means that vigilante justice is even more attractive). When this moral failure is coupled with the movie’s extensive use of foul language and a nude unmarried sex scene between the heroine and her boyfriend, THE BRAVE ONE rates an unacceptable “excessive” rating from MOVIEGUIDE®.
(PaPa, B, C, LLL, VVV, SS, NN, A, D, MM) Strong pagan worldview ultimately endorses revenge and vigilante justice and has a matter-of-fact, briefly titillating attitude toward pre-marital sex and cohabitation, with some moral elements, especially regarding the terrible effect that violent crime and wicked criminals have on victims and on society, plus a cross on a necklace has some positive emotional and symbolic connotations; 64 mostly strong obscenities (at least 30 “f” words), five light profanities, and woman gets sick in toilet; strong and very strong violence with some blood includes pointblank murder shootings, man and woman brutally beaten and kicked, fight with crowbar includes some beating, speeding car hits young woman and knocks her down, and threats of violence; brief sex scene between unmarried but engaged couple in bed, brief mostly crude references to prostitution and engaged couple lives together; brief upper female nudity and partial rear nudity; alcohol use; smoking and violent crime victim takes pain pills or pills for depression but throws them out eventually; and, thugs steal dog, cop fakes evidence, and revenge and vigilante justice are ultimately validated.
THE BRAVE ONE is an unofficial remake of the 1974 Charles Bronson revenge/vigilante movie DEATH WISH. It stars Jodie Foster as Erica, a radio show street poet in New York City who buys an illegal gun after thugs mercilessly beat her fiancé to death and her into a coma. The first chance she gets, Erica blows away an angry man who murdered his girlfriend while the girl works at a corner mini mart. Erica decides she likes the power and feeling of justice she gets from doing this and seeks out other criminals. She becomes friends with the detective investigating her vigilante shootings. Her revenge against the evil men who ruthlessly murdered her boyfriend put that friendship to the test.
THE BRAVE ONE is an exciting, emotionally riveting thriller, but is sometimes pretentious and corny with too many coincidences. At the end, it also endorses vigilante justice and violent revenge without much, if any, ambiguity. When this moral failure is coupled with the movie’s extensive use of foul language and a nude unmarried sex scene between the heroine and her boyfriend, THE BRAVE ONE rates an unacceptable “excessive” rating from movieguide.org.