Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"


Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Game Review

Let's start with one clear and definite fact: Since its introduction in 2006, the  Gears of War franchise has been all about hard-driving, futuristic warfare on an Xbox 360. No Wii remote-waving, casual-gaming, family-friendly fare here. No. this franchise is unapologetically hard-core, jam-packed with roll-and-thump, gun-blazing action.

Fans who immediately snapped up this third installment—and there were 3 million of them in the first five days of the game's release—probably had a pretty good idea of what to expect. Quite simply, they were looking for Gears of War 3 to wrap up the series' narrative with the same immersive play, the same intuitive game mechanics and the same gore 'n' glory combat the first two games are (in)famous for.

That's exactly what they got.

Flex and Kill
The Gears of War saga focuses on a hulking, heavily muscled supersoldier named Marcus Fenix and his bull-necked Delta Squad members, the titular "gears" in any given battle. This rough-and-rugged team has been fighting what seems like a lifetime of war. They've been going at it tooth and nail with a swarm of enemies called the Locust—subterranean, albino-skinned monstrosities that began crawling out of cavernous tunnels beneath the surface of the humans' home planet of Sera.

At the start of this third and final Gears tale, the remnants of humankind are clinging to the flotsam and jetsam of their dying world. And after sacrificing their last remaining stronghold in the all-out offensive of Gears 2, things looks pretty bleak. But then Fenix receives a cryptic message that his scientist father, once believed dead, might actually have survived. And it's possible that this brilliant man has found a way to vanquish a new breed of mutant monsters that's emerged from Sera's bowels.

It's up to the Delta Squad, of course, to make it happen, as Fenix and his gears of war heroically embark on yet another mission impossible: finding Fenix's father, destroying these bloodthirsty alien interlopers once and for all and saving a shattered planet in the process.

Virtual Mop Not Included
The story plays out with some emotional moments that help us connect with the human side of this harrowing sci-fi journey. But at the end of the day, it all leads back to the death, blood and gore that the franchise is known for. As with the first two games, Gears of War 3 bursts with realistic visuals and cinematic flourish—for better and worse. Exploding marauders erupt in chunks of meat and yellow bile when riddled with bullets from shotguns, miniguns, assault rifles and the like. When hit with weapons such as flamethrowers, cannons or grenades, enemy skin and body parts blacken, crack and sizzle to a believable crisp.

The death-dealing isn't all long distance either. Enemies can be grabbed and used as "meat shields." And the game also glories in "creative" executions. In certain situations, gamers are offered the opportunity to finish off opponents with a specific killing blow—everything from stomping a victim's head to pulp to eviscerating him with a chain saw to beating him to death with his own severed limb.

Cutscenes can deliver even clearer views of the carnage. In one cinematic moment, for instance, the camera watches closely as a central character has a large knife slowly and painfully shoved into her abdomen. In a sentence: The gamemakers never flinch from showing every gush of crimson and spurt of gore.

Filtered … But Not Cleaned
Now it should be noted that Gears of War 3 does offer a content filter for gamers who want all the action without all the M-rated content. When engaged, the filter bleeps out the searingly foul language—which includes a constant stream of f- and s-words and an arsenal of other profanity bombs—as well as redacting that profanity from the onscreen script. It also dials down the splurt-and-splatter graphics, replacing a gush of entrails, for instance, with a sprinkle of sparks when a whirring blade finds it's fleshy mark.

That means the dripping content can be tamped down to almost T-rated levels. But the edits and tweaks won't make the 10 to 12 hour-long slog through Locustdom a sweet trip through a pretty field of daisies. In single-player or the various multiplayer modes this game is never anything less than what it is: a hard-core shooter.

That's a clear and definite fact.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements


Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!