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Movie Review

Jack Carter is a tough guy. Literally. His "career" involves roughing people up to collect on gambling debts in Las Vegas. He’s one bad dude—a point Get Carter spends nearly 2 hours trying to make. A cynical film critic might say that the only reason Carter got made was to showcase an aging Sylvester Stallone beating the stuffing out of just about everybody he meets. Even devoted action movie fans would be hard pressed to find much of Carter’s content palatable. To set the stage for the movie’s rote depictions of car chases, shootouts and fistfights, Jack travels to Seattle for his brother Richie’s funeral. He’s convinced foul play put Richie in the ground and proceeds to rough up local hoodlums to find out who’s responsible. The deeper he gets, the worse things appear. And if he wasn’t already ticked off enough to do serious damage, the discovery that his teenage niece, Doreen, was drawn into a porn scheme takes him—as he’s so fond of repeating—"to another level."

positive elements: Jack is protective of Doreen and shows that he loves her by urging her to trust her mother and try to start the healing process by telling her about the trouble she’s in. He berates himself for allowing his life to spiral into crime and violence, and tells her she can do so much better than he. Of course, he’s not repentant about his actions, and makes no moves to put himself on a different path. He’s merely melancholy about the past.

sexual content: Jack’s quest to avenge his brother leads him into the world of big-time porn. His nemesis, Cyrus, is an Internet porn king with a gaggle of girls at his side and a slew of ruined lives in his wake. Fast-cut images of online pornography flit across the screen. Jack watches a video of a rape (the audience’s view is obscured for most of the scene, but a few quick visuals get the point across harshly enough). In that same video two girls kiss and fleeting images imply that they strip down and have sex together. A lingering shot of Jack’s girlfriend focuses on her bra which is showing underneath an unbuttoned blouse. An atmosphere of dark sexual depravity clouds several scenes, which are shot inside an Internet porn "club." In the background, exotic dancers entertain the patrons.

violent content: Frequent and grossly gratuitous. Jack fights with a host of "bad guys," killing several in the process. He tosses one man out an apartment window and to his death, smashing into the top of a parked car. He shoots another in the back. On and on the violence goes. Blood flows freely when Cyrus and Jack go at it near the end. Three or four lengthy car chases leave chaos behind. In one particularly grating scene, Jack uses psychological torture and physical assault to reduce a man into a slobbering, sobbing, shivering mass.

crude or profane language: Nearly a hundred swear words collide amidst the violence. Many of them are f-words and s-words. Harsh, degrading sexual slang and anatomical references fly. Christ’s name is abused several times.

drug and alcohol content: Revelers are seen snorting cocaine in one scene. In almost every scene somebody is smoking a cigarette. Pretty much anyone with more than 30 seconds of screen time lights up. And smoking isn’t just a stage prop here. Over and over again the cameras zoom in on glowing butts and curving lips, embracing and emphasizing the "mystique" and "coolness" of cigarettes. Alcohol is also prominent. It is implied that one woman is killed with a drug overdose when Jack finds her with a needle sticking out of her arm.

conclusion: Senseless and silly would be one thing if these traits weren’t accompanied with violence and aggression. Jack’s motivation for killing and maiming is nothing more than a blood-lust for vengeance. Once, his sister-in-law asks him to throttle back, saying that revenge "doesn’t work." His cryptic response: "Sure it does." The proper authorities are never included or petitioned for help. Jack just wants heads to roll and he wants to do it personally. Consequences for his actions never arrive, and he drives off into the "sunset." The filmmakers say that this is a film about "never giving up," "second chances" and finding the strength to go on with your life when tragedy strikes. It’s not. It’s about getting even at any cost.

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Sylvester Stallone as Jack Carter; Miranda Richardson as Gloria; Rachael Leigh Cook as Doreen; Alan Cumming as Jeremy Kinnear; Mickey Rourke as Cyrus Paice; Michael Caine as Cliff Bumby


Stephen T. Kay ( )


Warner Bros.



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Steven Isaac

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