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The Cold Light of Day [2012] [PG-13] - 2.6.5



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Unlike the MPAA we do not assign one inscrutable rating based on age, but 3 objective ratings for SEX/NUDITY, VIOLENCE/GORE and PROFANITY on a scale of 0 to 10, from lowest to highest, depending on quantity and context.

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Sex & Nudity
Violence & Gore
1 to 10


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The family of a CIA agent (Bruce Willis) is taken hostage because a briefcase containing intelligence has gone missing. The situation quickly falls to the eldest son (Henry Cavill) to put things right before they are all killed. Also with Verónica Echegui, Sigourney Weaver, Joseph Mawle, Caroline Goodall, Rafi Gavron and Emma Hamilton. Directed by Mabrouk El Mechri. [1:33]

SEX/NUDITY 2 - A man and a woman kiss. A man and a woman hug.
 Scantily clad women dance in a club (we see short skirts and low-cut tops that reveal cleavage, bare legs and backs). Several people on a float in the ocean are shown wearing swim suits: the men are bare-chested in swim trunks and the women wear bikinis that reveal cleavage, bare backs and abdomens and legs. A man is shown bare-chested when he gets out of the ocean after swimming. A woman is shown wearing a bikini and cleavage, bare abdomen and bare legs are shown. A woman wears a short dress that reveals her bare thighs.

VIOLENCE/GORE 6 - A man is shot in the back from a distance (blood splatters) and the bullet travels through a car window where another man ducks and dodges the bullet (we see the one man dead on the ground with blood on the wound). A man is shot in the head and falls to the ground dead (we see the bloody bullet wound). A woman is shot in the chest (blood sprays) and falls to the ground dead.
 Many people shoot at each other in a parking garage; we see a few people fall to the ground after being struck, one man speeds away in a car as another man jumps through the car window, the driver is shot repeatedly (we see bloody bullet holes) and the car crashes. A man shoots at another man, they exchange gunfire, one man runs and is chased by the other man through streets, they shoot at each other and a police officer is shot, the man is then chased by police and one officer on horseback until the horse rears and the officer is thrown. A woman shoots at another woman and a man, they both shoot back and the woman and another man run away. A woman driving a car shoots at a man and another woman in another car several times.
 A woman with a knife lunges at a man, the man throws her, and he and another man fight; the two men throw each other around an office and onto tables and into shelves until we see one man lying on the floor with a knife in his back and blood on the wound. A man is shown dead with a bloody bullet hole in his chest. A man and a woman shoot at each other and a passerby is shot (we see him dead on the ground).
 A man is pulled out of a car by police and they punch him in the stomach and face before he falls to the ground and another man beats the police officers using the car door and a tire iron (the scene is very dark but we see blood glistening on the heads and faces of the men). A man tied into a chair is punched in the face by another man repeatedly (we see the man's very bloody face). A man tied in a chair is punched in the face repeatedly by another man (we see blood on his face and he spits blood). Two men in a crowded club fight with punches and kicks until one man is tasered.
 A man is shown with a bloody bullet wound on his back and a woman treats him; the woman sterilizes her hands with vodka, pokes a finger into the wound, and then cauterizes it with a heated spoon (the man screams both times and we hear a sizzle when the spoon touches the man's flesh).
 A man is held around the neck until he passes out and we see him being pushed out of a car and onto the ground (he gets up and stumbles but appears OK). A man is grabbed around the neck and held until he passes out. A man is grabbed and shoved by police officers, he struggles and breaks free, he steals a police car and speeds away, and the police chase in another car and the man runs off the road and crashes into a tree. A man slams into another man, pushes him out of the way and runs.
 Two cars chase through crowded streets, along pedestrian walkways (we see people jumping out of the way), through traffic lights (we see other cars swerve and crash), and down flights of stairs. Two cars crash into a kiosk and they spin and flip (we see both drivers with blood on their faces and on one knee and a passenger is unconscious).
 A man ties a cable around his waist and jumps off the roof of a building, he crashes into several balconies as he falls to the ground and the satellite dish that the cable is attached to crashes onto the ground next to him (he gets up and runs away). A man ties a cable around a woman's waist and lowers her off the roof of a building, he is shot at and loses his grip on the cable causing the woman to fall some distance until a man on a balcony pulls her inside (she is OK). A man presses his arms against hot pipes to melt the tape that binds him (we hear his skin sizzle and we see his face redden).
 A woman is knocked off a seat on a boat and she hits her head on a piece of equipment (we see her with a bloody gash on her forehead). We see a man with a bandage on his eyebrow and later with a healing cut. A man is shown with a bloody cut on his nose. A man washes out a shirt that is covered with blood and we see the bloody water fill the sink. We hear a toilet flush in a public restroom and a man exits without washing his hands.
 A man holds a gun on another man and a woman. A woman holds a gun on a man and they yell at each other (she does not shoot). A man breaks a car window with his elbow and steals the car.
 A man bursts into a police station and yells that his family has disappeared. A man and a woman argue. A man throws his adult son's cell phone off a boat and the two men argue. A man yells at his adult son in a few scenes. A man tells another man, "The briefcase, or your family is dead." A man introduces his brother as "the good brother" and says "I always knew mom loved you best." A man says "I think I'm gonna be sick," he gets out of a car and coughs several times (he does not vomit).
 A man panics when he finds his family's boat and there is no sign of any of them on board.

PROFANITY 5 - About 2 F-words (1 not fully enunciated when half of the word is drowned out by a gunshot), 8 scatological terms, anatomical terms, 6 mild obscenities, name-calling (idiot, amateur), 6 religious profanities, 5 religious exclamations. [profanity glossary]

SUBSTANCE USE - A man takes a prescription medication (we do not see what it is). People are shown drinking wine and toasting with wine at dinner, a woman talks with her adult son about preparing a glass of wine for him, a man drinks vodka from the bottle, and a man says that his mother told him "there's a beer in the fridge." A man lights a cigarette, and two people are shown smoking cigarettes on a street.

DISCUSSION TOPICS - Family, CIA, secret lives, strained relations, bankruptcy, betrayal, intelligence, terrorism, extra-marital affairs, product placement.

MESSAGE - It's hard to tell whom you can trust sometimes. Parents can be full of secrets.

Special Keywords: S2 - V6 - P5 - MPAAPG-13

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A CAVEAT: We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and some of our early standards were not as stringent as they are now. We therefore need to revisit many older reviews, especially those written prior to 1998 or so; please keep this in mind if you're consulting a review from that period. While we plan to revisit and correct older reviews our resources are limited and it is a slow, time-consuming process.

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