01 August 2013

Quickie Movie Reviews for July 2013

Rated: PG-13 for martial arts violence
Starring: Ted Jan Roberts, Karen Valentine, and John O'Hurley
Released: October 24, 1995 (VHS)
The Power Within: Though largely inoffensive for a PG-13 film, The Power Within feels like it should have been a video game instead of a movie.  When hearing the fantastical history of the rings, and watching the action sequences, I couldn't help but think of the old-school "beat 'em up" games, such as Double Dragon or Street Fighter.  The cheesiness of it all makes it seem like a product of the "decade of excess" instead of a 1995 release.  Martial arts fans will probably enjoy this, but others should find something else to watch.

Content Concerns: Even though the film wasn't very good, as noted above, its quotient of offensive content is low for a PG-13 movie.  There are less than ten profanities (that I heard, anyway).  The "martial arts action violence" noted by the MPAA is neither bloody nor graphic; however, two intense scenes--a guy gets hit by a car, and it isn't fatal; another guy gets stabbed, and it appears to be deadly--might be a bit much for some folks.  Sexual content is limited to hearing of two high school kids renting a hotel room; it's never said that they actually do, though.  At the beginning, one buxom woman is seen in a low-cut outfit, and two others are briefly seen in bikinis.  Two main female characters tend to wear skirts that are a little on the short side.  All that is small potatoes compared to the "R-lite" movies that are called PG-13 today.

Score: 2/5

Rated: Not Rated (US) / PG (Canadian Home Video Rating) (Dove approved for ages twelve and up)
Starring: F. Murray Abraham, Louise Lombard, and Jurgen Prochnow
Released: March 2, 2010 (DVD)
Esther (The Bible Stories): This movie is based on the only book in the Bible that does not mention God by name, but it does the story justice.  Though not perfect, it makes for quite enthralling viewing, and might be good for a middle school, high school, or adult Bible class after a study of the Biblical book.  (It would not be appropriate for younger kids, though; see the Content Concerns below for why.)  Anyone who has watched and enjoyed other well-made flicks based on God's Word, such as The Gospel of John or In the Beginning..., will find plenty to like about Esther.

Content Concerns: Though largely true to the Biblical account, some of this movie is not for little children.  Most notable are the scenes where Esther and the King consummate their relationship; though handled with more decorum than you're likely to see on pretty much any network sitcom these days, it still would be a bit much for the very young.  Violence includes a character being hung--do you know who?--though that is mostly implied.  Some of the emotionally intense scenes could freak some folks out.

Score: 4.25/5

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