Boot Camp (2008) Poster

(2008)

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6/10
Different...
deltatask115 May 2008
This film is actually not bad. I was entertained. The plot was very different from the usual ones. Good acting. The film makes you think about what kind of programs like "ASAP" exists today. During the film my mind kept thinking about how this kind of abuse is currently going on in the world. It's hard to believe that it's still going on. I would recommend this movie, but don't expect any hard action or fight scenes. It's pretty slow I felt, but yet at the same time you wanted to see what was going to happen next, but not in a suspenseful way. It was just an interesting and different kind of movie. All in all I give this movie a 6 out of 10 stars. Good acting.
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10/10
Overall Better Than Expected...to the guy who says the kids are all spoiled...
benromansky22 June 2010
Mila Kunis and her boyfriend played great roles, and the foreign guy played a good self- righteous "doctor" with a god complex. As someone who went to one of these places, New Dominion in Maryland - I take offense to the reviewer who says these places are for "spoiled kids". Guess what, the one I went to was 95 percent sentenced juvenile offenders, and I was one of the lucky "spoiled kids". My crime - nothing - I have no criminal record. The one I went to wasn't as "Lord of the Flies" like, but there was physical abuse, and sexual abuse that they covered up but definitely existed. There are no regulation on these places. To say people deserve it is messed up. I still suffer PTSD from being at the one I went to, probably the result of being body slammed for speaking my mind and being mentally tortured on a 24/7 basis. It's also nice to have to work chipping at rocks to get your food and to get a grade A concussion and be told to "walk it off". Anyway I'm now graduated from college with honors, but these sick places still exist. I will never forget being told by the juvenile offenders there that they'd rather be back in prison.
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7/10
I really don't know what to think of this movie
literacola-112 May 2008
Within the first 15 minutes of the film I was about to turn it off because of the horrible acting, but I just couldn't. I finished the entire thing and there was just something about it that I really enjoyed. The entire story was something that I have never seen in a film before, and nothing was really predictable about it.

Most of the horrible acting came from no name actors. Mila Kunis played her role very well, as did Peter Stormare. There was something really cheesy about the whole "captured and taken to an island" idea, but I really think with some better actors it could have been pulled off much better.

The cinematography was excellent, and the soundtrack was just amazing. The island location was a perfect choice and really added a lot to the film.

I still don't know why I enjoyed it so much, but I would say it is worth a rental to see for yourself.
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8/10
worth watching
tofusquares31 May 2011
Within the first ten seconds, the movie introduction says, "There are over 200 hundred Boot Camps..." -_- Other than that, this movie was pretty amazing.

I felt captivated from the first scene, and only became more intrigued as the story line progressed. There were some satisfyingly, unexpected turnouts, and I loved that. However, the ending...I didn't buy it.

Overall, the plot made me think, and I could really feel for the characters. It's shocking to see that camps like this exist, but I feel that this film has definitely raised awareness.

Definitely worth watching. Plus, Mila Kunis is a beautiful woman to watch =)
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8/10
Bumpy start, Brutal finish
Aka_Who17 December 2008
A little thrown off by the "excessiveness" in the beginning of this film I was pleased to see the pace quickly changed into an intriguingly heart wrenching and fist clenching experience. Pulling no punches in exposing the cruelty that exists in these rehabilitation centers you frequently find yourself a little uneasy with this films content (especially upon remembering that this was based on true events). A lot of content is crammed into this sole title as the story is a melting pot of drama, action, and even a relatively strong love story. Not a dull moment is to be found within this running time. The visuals compliment the story well with a beautiful setting and equally stunning cast.
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9/10
Very good and very different.
xXsynXx24 October 2009
This movie brought an issue to my attention that I didn't know existed. "Tough Love" Boot Camps are portrayed correctly in this movie, and in some cases, the real camps are much more difficult experiences. The first 10 minutes or so were a little slow, and I wasn't sure what to think. When the characters got to the camp, though, I was enthralled. This movie just keeps you at the edge of your seat. And no matter how brutal the characters are to each other, you can't bring yourself to look away. Overall, I gave this movie 9 out 10 stars for an interesting idea, good acting, and good directing. The only thing to warn anyone about would be that it does get brutal and has some language, so it is definitely not recommended for younger audiences. Other than that, I advise you to see this. You won't be sorry!
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6/10
Do the End Justify the Means?
Claudio Carvalho30 March 2009
In Denver, the rebel Sophie (Mila Kunis) misses her deceased father and hates her stepfather Karl (Serge Houde), pushing him to the edge. After a serious incident with his guests at home, she is sent to the ASAP – Advanced Serenity Achievement Program – a correctional facility in Fiji Island leaded by Norman Hail (Peter Stormare), who self-entitles doctor, to be rehabilitated in a socially acceptable pattern of behavior. She finds a concentration camp without human rights that uses abusive military training techniques to brainwash the offenders. Meanwhile her boyfriend Ben (Gregory Smith) forces a situation at home to be sent to the same boot camp and escape with Sophie.

"Boot Camp" explains in the very beginning that is based on a true event; therefore it seems that it really does exist places like the Serenity Camp in the world. The story does not have the intention to discuss whether these boot camps are necessary or not, but to show a specific place directed by an unprepared man with psychological problems that uses torture techniques as if the end could justify the means. A dictatorship with absolute power associated to playing God always generates injustices and corruption and is doomed to fail. The story is entertaining, but some of the teenagers (and parents) depicted in the movie really deserve to be sent to a correctional facility or to a shrink to resolve their issues. My vote is six.

Title (Brazil): "A Ilha - Uma Prisão Sem Grades" ("The Island – A Prison Without Bars")
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10/10
Great Flick
Stewystew11 May 2008
I haven't seen a good flick like this in awhile, you really feel for the characters and the situations they go through. Plus the story is based on true events.

Parents who think their children are out of control send them away to camp serenity where they think they are being looked after, little do they know its a torture camp with twisted, manipulated methods to get the kids to change.

This is a great night in flick, I recommend it. Mila Kunis from that 70's show and forgetting sarah marshall is great in this film. You will not be disappointed.
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7/10
Not brilliant but definitely something different....
xxTusharxx24 November 2008
..which is probably the reason enough for one time watch. I liked the movie for its different approach and the questions it raises and forces us to ponder over the issue of such camps as ASAP. If such camps exist, and actually they do, what is their purpose? if the purpose is to "help" the troubled teens, they fail miserably or at least the movie says so. coming to the movie, it was a good film with a lot of potential. maybe better actors may have been able to pull it off much better but nevertheless the movie doesn't disappoint you. my suggestion to those who have not watched this movie is to watch it before forming an opinion over it. believe me its not that bad as some comments here suggest.
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Disturbed
tjsmommy91118 August 2011
I rated this movie a 6 due to the content. I truly believe this movie should have been made, and I commend the ones who did. It truly broke my heart, seeing as though it's a true story, making it all the more disturbing. I hope that people that are considering sending their child/teen to a place such as this one. I think all the actors did a pretty good job portraying the characters that the movie is about. I just can't believe that this movie is around 3 years old and I haven't heard of it. It's kind of bothersome to me because this movie truly needs recognition, it needs to be out there for more people to see. Parents and guardians really need to do their homework on these type of places before sending ANYONE they truly care about! Thanks for the movie, I really hope people heed the warning the comes from this film!
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10/10
Excellent story!
Kiddo26 April 2010
I will start off by saying that I have been truly impressed by this movie. Perhaps not the excellent actor performance but the story behind the movie.

I've finished watching it a few minutes ago and felt like I needed to do a short review on it. First of, don't get fooled by the start, as I've heard people saying they wanted to stop watching after the first 15 minutes, ignore that if you're interested in seeing a good movie based on a true story.

The action of the movie is excellent, perhaps a bit exaggerated but nevertheless close to the truth as it was then. I'm talking about the psychological effect a 'rehabilitation camp' can have on teenagers. In order to really understand the movie you have to look beyond the actors and the location of the movie and think about the situation that's being presented.

All in all an exceptional film that presents what could have happened in a 'tough love camp', the ignorance of some, the joy of others and the desperate need of freedom after such an experience.
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2/10
People being hit with sticks.
c-conley9021 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Oh, brother, it's the direct-to-video crap called Boot Camp from mediocre director Christian Dugay. Supposedly based on a true story, yeah right. Mila Kunis is one of the many kids taken from their homes by two thugs hired by their parents for a tough love camp, yes, literally these guys are not suspiciously criminal at all. After that, she is taken to some island and put in some prison camp with Peter Stormare running the joint with his self-help crap speeches. Which occur a lot in the movie. Her boyfriend fakes his way into the program to get on the island and they end up almost escape to a hotel on some other island, but then being captured again. How the hell are the police not on these idiots, their going into hotels and dragging out kids back to their prison death camp. Isn't this suppose to be based on a true story? What is true about thugs taking kids out of hotels and the police or nobody not noticing or how Peter Stormare is getting away with any of this? It's way too obvious, I mean even the taking of kids from their homes is kind of easily explainable away to people. But when it isn't following any kind of truth or reality the movie is scenes of teenagers on the island abusing each other typical stuff, rape, beatings with sticks, and pushing people in mud. Truly, in one scene Stormare holds some ceremony to have one of the teenagers admit to their problems and have therapy and when they don't the other older mean teenager "counselors" tease them and then start hitting them with sticks? This movie isn't at all good, it bores me to tears, the only thing going for it is Peter Stormare and Mila Kunis. Otherwise the movie stinks to high heaven. And it is far from the truth on tough love camps, and keep in mind I don't even know, but I know it's probably most likely not like this movie at all.
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8/10
Shocklingly brutal
Steve Pulaski26 March 2011
Most of us are used to torture porn. With movies like Cabin Fever, Hostel, The Collector, and the countless Saws its a shock we can sleep. Those are all nice, though this one is real.

The movie is about Sophie (Mila Kunis). After he father's death, she is stressed out in her life. Her parents are worried about her odd and relentless behavior toward her new stepfather, so they send her to boot camp (I would have sent her to a Daddy-Daughter Dance, saves money).

Boot Camp members basically brutally kidnap Sophie and take her to a remote island off of Fiji. Instead of being a training camp like expected, it turns out to be an endless abuse and embarrassment school.

People are locked in holes, thrown in mud, and beat with rods when refuse to do their work or just simply tired. Sophie's boyfriend Ben (Gregory Smith) does bad to get on the island and rescue her. But the strict leader doesn't like that.

In the case of torture porn Horror movies. This one is real. The events in this movie actually occur. Unlike in Saw where a killer with lollipop circles on his face tries to lock you up in traps, this one is actually likable and realistic.

The concept is stunning and meaningful and makes you feel as if you lived the story happening to these characters. Not a movie to watch twice, but definitely a must see kinda movie.

Starring: Mila Kunis and Gregory Smith.
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5/10
Glossy and Forgettable
jfgibson7312 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
You may find more than a couple similarities to this movie and The Island of Dr. Moreau. The story is about a behavior modification camp for teens whose parents don't know what else to do. Mila Kunis is the main character through whose point of view we experience the camp. The camp is run by Peter Stormare's character, who has developed a system of organization for running the camp, as well as a "process" through which he breaks the children down and reteaches them to behave in a socially acceptable way. Except that we see cracks in the system that suggest it may not be working. In addition, there are people at the camp abusing their power and taking advantage of kids who must behave submissively to gain privileges and eventually be released.

I think if I wanted to know more about these behavior camps, I would watch a documentary instead of a work of fiction. Boot Camp was pretty much what I expected--the kids are treated terribly until the system eventually breaks down and the "mad doctor" is overthrown. It does get you thinking a little bit about what kinds of treatment might be appropriate for out of control teens, but this film won't try to answer that. It is basically another riff on the "absolute power corrupts absolutely" tip. If I had to single out one performance, I thought the girl who played Trina had a truly desperate look about her. Overall, it isn't one I will remember much about.
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4/10
Trash
dbborroughs5 September 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Spoiled rich kids with drug and behavior problems are sent off to a rehab/boot camp in Fiji. One girl is sent by her parents and her boyfriend gets himself sent there as well. The camp abuses them and they eventually revolt.

True exploitation film is a piece of trash morally. The film clearly states that kids should not be forced to be responsible and that any attempt to bring them into line is wrong. While I think the film is correct to challenge the notions of "tough love" camps like this, many of which have done some good, the fact that the cathartic moment comes when the camp is set on fire and people are killed kind of defeats the purpose. Granted the person is the de facto villain of the piece, but it is kind of bankrupt morally. I wouldn't have minded the death and destruction if the filmmakers hadn't taken such a high moral ground.

I also don't like that these are not your average everyday kids, they are rich little twits since who else could afford to send their kids to an island on the other side of the world (this also weakens the filmmakers argument since the camp clearly doesn't represent all camps like this). I know I shouldn't have gotten upset since its only a trash movie but the filmmakers seem to want to do more than exploit their audience, they want to educate, which I don't think the film does. Then again I'm not the audience for this film, which is the age group of the kids sent off to camp itself.

In its favor its well acted and beautiful to look at. Unless you're young enough to be sent to a camp like this I'd take a pass.
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1/10
Interesting idea, poorly executed
Johnny Utah9 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I kind of found the concept interesting. But the person who made this, focus a bit too much on the girls. Not to mention that he/she has never heard about lord of the flies

But the movie goes a long way with showing what a bunch of mindless sheep humans are. The realty is that you wouldn't be able to run a camp like this without some reporter snooping around either by air or land. I don't give a crap if it's located in Fiji someone would poke around. **spoilers*****spoilers**spoilers**** I also found it a bit stupid that while they are walking in line, they are discussing escape plan while the other clearly can hear them. Not to mention that when the boyfriend end up on the island there is no "pretend to get know" the girlfriend he Gonna rescue, it's more like: hi nice seeing you again. Lets not forget that everyone with half a brain know that if you got a small boat, you cross the waves diagonally not head on. And when they finally escape they take in to a motel, instead of getting as far away as they can. They actually deserved to get caught. They're so stupid they should have stayed on the island. Another thing, you get accesses to garden tool but you don't kill your capturer. There are somewhat 4 guards on what 50 children? Any body told you about strength in numbers?? Let's not forget that when ever someone is in the circle they don't fight back, they just take it.

If it wasn't for the fact that i know Mila uses a body double i might have giving a 2.But it still sucks to much for more than one
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8/10
Better Than A Lot of Hollywood Output
streaksy13 June 2014
I really enjoyed it. I don't know why the other reviews go on about bad acting. There was the odd out-of-place montage and the build-up intro was a bit formulaic in places but nothing really bad, and nothing that stopped it being a good film. I could name plenty high-budget high-return movies that were less thought-out and a lot more cheese and that were seemingly produced on autopilot by point-missing robots who are lucky enough to be able to afford headline-grabbing CGI effects.

Also, it made me aware that such places exist as Cross Creek and Tranquility Bay. Although I can forgive a movie for dramatising something "based on a true story" I was left wanting to find out more and judge for myself.

Anyway, this objectively deserves an 8, I think. It should be more known.
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6/10
Next week, we're taking a look at laces
TBJCSKCNRRQTreviews28 February 2011
Supposedly based on real events, this is about teenagers being sent away to camps to be disciplined. We follow a couple who go there and seek to escape. The characters aren't bad, and this is psychologically credible all the way. Unfortunately, the acting tends to be pretty... "meh". Even Stormare, if he does have his moments, struggles. Smith delivers the best performance(someone give this man more roles, seriously). Kunis is OK, as usual. This has some stylization to portions of it, without it getting to be flashy. This is directed(by the guy who did the pretty good Human Trafficking mini-series, and the utterly biased Hitler bio-pic), shot and edited well. It's genuinely effective at times, with a fairly good pace and a relatively satisfying climax. The tension reaches nice high levels at times, and this is exciting here and there. It is a bit predictable. The exploration of how some of the people leading the spot have become corrupted by their power and what these kinds of extreme conditions do to even normal human beings are convincing, if not news to people who look into this stuff even casually. This suffers from there not being much memorable to it other than this, and, frankly, I feel it would have been a more compelling documentary. There is a lot of disturbing content and sensuality, and brief nudity in this. The DVD comes with five trailers and nothing else(including scene selection menus)... that's *bare*. I recommend this to fans of Gregory. 6/10
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5/10
real events in Hollywood style
trashgang6 April 2009
In the seventies boot camps were the real stuff in the US. Nobody watched what happened in those camps, and several persons really died in those camps. This is one of those stories. To promote this film the said that it was more frightening than Adrift and more horrible then Battle Royale. well, those to movies are independent and are better than Boot Camp. As always in Hollywood there has to be some romance in it and that just doesn't work for me. It is never fearful or there isn't any suspense, it isn't even bloody, the roughest thing is a blue eye. But I gave it a 5 because the effects they used in the cutting. It could have been all better if it was more in the style of Battle Royale.
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2/10
Great idea, dumbed down to the level of a Clearisil commercial
bob_meg21 February 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I realize that Tough Love camps are real and that real tragedies occurred in them. Any unregulated institution is pretty much untenable. I was intrigued when I heard about this film, because the dramatic possibilities could have been really interesting.

Instead, all "Boot Camp" gives us is a boy-and-girl in love against the "bad guys" and parents who "just don't understand." The characters are very superficial and all the drama is romanticized. The rest is crib-noted from "Lord of the Flies" and not interesting or suspenseful in the least.

If you DON'T think this movie has been manufactured by a bunch of Hollywood-types to pander to teen focus groups, think about the absolute absurdity of a teenage boy flying to Fiji with a pretend Heroin habit just so he can save his snotty and unappealing girlfriend who even HE doesn't appear to like in the first minutes of the film. How many people had that happen to them? Wait, not all at once. Come on...this isn't screen writing folks, it's fill-in-the-blanks MadLibs. It's the same crap they churn out over and over with a "based on true events" spin to try and originalize it.

Aside from the miserable script, the acting is wretched. Mila Kunis once more pulls her lazy "I'll make a sullen face and say something smart-ass and maybe that will pass for emoting" stunt. Peter Stormare could not be more miscast as the "villainous" camp leader...he seems to have escaped from some grade C Bond film knockoff...I know he has that accent but...it's a bit much in this already stereotypical Nazi-esque role. The Tiger Beat lead boy was so boring that I can't be bothered to look up his name.

I just don't like manipulative films. Any film that inserts the now standard MTV-blast of mind-deadening bubble-gum slop along with the ADD sped-up camera montage to introduce a "moment of revelation" (HERE'S WHERE I SAVE MY GIRLFRIEND!) should be required to self-destruct by now. This was old when it first was popularized and beat into the ground with "Romeo + Juliet." Does any director still do this intentionally?

If this is just a popcorn movie...fine. I have nothing against them. Just don't try to pass them off as some relevant social statement.
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6/10
The revolt of the overindulgent
sol22 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
**SPOILERS** Made to straighten out spoiled and uncontrollable teenagers Camp Serenity in the far off Fiji Islands has been turned into a modern day WWII German or Japanese POW camp with the well meaning but somewhat unstable Dr. Norman Hill,Peter Stormare, as it commandant. Taking out of control teenagers off their parents and guardians hands Dr. Hill uses a new form of tough love as well as torture and humiliation to get the youths back in line and back to civility. The trouble is that Dr. Hill's methods don't always work and somethings leads to the people he's trying to cure to end up dead.

It's when Ben, Gregory Smith, faked his way into Camp Serenity by posing as a heroin addict that things really started to get out of hand there. With his girlfriend Sophie, Mila Kunis, incarcerated at the camp for treatment for her anti-social behavior Ben decided to crash the place by getting incarcerated there himself. It didn't take long for Dr. Hill to realize Ben's plan but let him and Sophie make their badly planned and almost suicidal escape only to have them again taken into custody by his goons. Dr. Hill then had the two brutally worked over with each spending time in the hole,solitary confinement, for their acts of insubordination.

The main reason for Dr. Hill's fall from grace, with his colleagues in youth rehabilitation, was the sleazy and uncalled for actions of his top honcho at Camp Serenity US Army deserter and, possibly, convicted felon Logan, Tygh Ruyan. Logan despite being very effective in keeping things at Camp Serenity going smooth as silk is also a bit of a sicko when it comes to the many women imprisoned there.

It's Logan's shaking down of young Trina, Regine Nehy, to have sex with him in order to get her a white shirt, making Trina eligible to leave that God forsaken place, that in the end came back to haunt him with a vengeance. It was also Logan's responsibility in the deeply disturbed Danny's, Christopher Jacot, drowning death that just about had Dr. Hill who was covering up for Logan, in his having his way with the women prisoners, to chew him out and almost can him. It was after verbally putting Logan in his place that Dr.Hill put him through the same torture and humiliation that Logan put the teenage prisoners through something leading to their death or suicide.

Having just about enough of Dr. Hill and his tough love tactics his sister ,also a doctor at Camp Serenity, Dr.Ronda Hill, Barbara Gates Wilson, pulled the rug under him. Ronda emptied her terrified brother's gun so he couldn't shoot the rampaging and revolting teenagers as they forcibly took control of Camp Serenity and came crashing into his bunker-like office.

You couldn't really dislike Dr. Hill in that his heart seemed to be in the right place in trying to help those-the teenagers- under his care. Dr. Hill seemed genuinely concerned in helping those young people who even their parents gave up on and discarded like a pet that can't help tearing up the upholstery and be house broken. It was just that Dr. Hill's enormous ego and sense of infallibility got in his way and eventually ended up leading to his sorry and humiliating downfall.
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2/10
What a complete waste of time
toddg-473-28981824 May 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I should have taken the hint by the words that appeared on screen at the beginning of the movie, where boot camps such as the one portrayed here were described as unregulated and without oversight. What followed, unfortunately, was a scathing review of boot camps that are designed to reform troubled teenagers. The perspective of this movie is to shine a negative light on authority figures and cast the troubled teens first as victims, then as heroes.

Scant attention is given to why the teens have been brought to the boot camp, and that any possible good could come from an extended stay in a highly disciplined environment. Instead the focus is on the flaws of those in charge. Too many unanswered questions arise in the plot while it weaves its way toward the teens escaping. Was it the teens' moral compass that inspired their desire to escape, or their natural rebellious tendencies taking shape long after their own parents had given up on them? This is never really answered, and makes it difficult for the viewer to feel any empathy toward the main characters.

The ending is the most ridiculous part, where the former teen prisoners regain their freedom. First they burn down the village on the isolated island, which was their only means of shelter. Then they run free around the island, but where are they to go? They are still on an isolated island. It is the final insult to the viewer, who has been insulted through out the movie.
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3/10
Very very dull and very badly acted
MattyGibbs22 May 2013
Boot Camp seemed an interesting premise. Four young people are taken with the agreement of their parents to a correction camp. However it turns out to be a different type of correction camp and not one you'd ever willingly visit.

The film sets the scene early and you get straight down to the main plot without too much scene setting. It's a simple plot and doesn't tax the brain which is ideal if you're in the mood for an easy watch however simple films normally rely heavily on either great acting, a great script or plenty of action. Unfortunately this doesn't have any of those things.

The acting is very limited if not just plain bad in places, Mila Kunis does a passable job but the rest of the cast are pretty poor and forgettable. The dialogue is at times laughable and just doesn't ring true. The script is very weak and clichéd and the plot twists are ridiculous.

I wasn't expecting an Oscar winner but I was expecting quite a bit more from this film but it really failed to deliver on nearly every level. In fact this is a film that starts well early but very quickly just gets more and more annoying, tedious and difficult to watch.

This may appeal to young teenagers but for the rest of us this is well worth avoiding.
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1/10
Parents are stupid and selfish, we need Government regulation!
deacon_blues-313 September 2011
Warning: Spoilers
This is the type of mindless "exposé" that liberals just love! Simplistic message: Tough Love Camp=Bad. Solution=Government regulation. Yes folks, don't trust the parents' judgment about their children. We know that all parents are incompetent to raise their children. Only the loving, compassionate, Big Brother Government really cares about poor spoiled rich kids. Anyone who disagrees must be a Nazi who wants to murder children. Never mind that most of the stupid, worthless kids in this film were heading for an early death anyway, with a spoon up their nose or needle in their arm. But everybody knows that parents have no right to make decisions about their children without government supervision. At first it looked like the tough love camp was just what these kids needed! Until, of course, they had to add the sexual abuse issues and then portray all the camp authorities as sociopathic, religious idiots. After all, we can't have a bunch of selfish, druggie, affluent panty-wastes being treated as if how they behave has consequences, can we? No, lets just let them pollute themselves here at home until they become government liabilities, spending their lives on the ever-expanding government-funded substance abuse merry-go-round. Anything but actually teaching these self-centered, pampered, spoiled brats that life has consequences and responsibilities. OH NO! How horrible! Spending a few years on a tropical island doing chores, swimming in the ocean, playing beach volleyball, and learning something about the tough lessons of life. After all, the military has NEVER molded anyone's character for success in life, have they? Discipline NEVER works, does it? NO! All we really need is group therapy and drug rehab, funded by the government of course. The government will take care of us. When the government gets involved, I just feel so much better, because I know they care and will treat us right. After all, they've proved it time and time again. Haven't they? Yes!
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5/10
Missed Opportunity
Todd McLeod (grimrogue)16 August 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I work with troubled teenagers in my profession, and I am always on the lookout for movies to show them that they might relate to and learn something from. I always pre-screen the flicks before watching them with the youth, and Boot Camp is a good example of why I bother doing this. Although admittedly entertaining and mostly well acted, Boot Camp feels like a movie written by troubled teenagers who are unable to see beyond their angst and hopelessness. The result is a "misunderstood kids" versus "evil authority figures" storyline that was disappointing in its singular focus and lack of meaning.

The idea of the film is actually quite interesting, and it reminded me of another flick about a troubled teen made in 1989 called Lost Angels. The difference between the two movies, however, is that the angry young man in Lost Angels actually learns something about himself and comes to understand how his actions got him into trouble in the first place. In Boot Camp, Mila Kunis stars as a young woman who is actually not a very nice person and learns nothing about herself throughout the story. She starts off being annoying, and stays that way until the very end. The only thing she learns is that you can get raped and killed in youth counseling programs.

She decides to embarrass her father in front of his business associates, and then is seemingly surprised when he gets angry about it. The parents have had enough with her antics and send her to a boot camp overseas. Her boyfriend tries to rescue her by pretending to be a heroin addict, so that his parents will send him to the same boot camp. His plan works and the film slips into a fairly routine "prison escape" flick.

What's so disappointing in Boot Camp is the lost potential it had to show many different sides to the same story. All of the parents are portrayed as cruel cardboard cutouts lacking any ability to empathize with their kids whatsoever. They are shown to be ruthless disciplinarians who just don't understand their children and refuse to try, thus sending them away to boot camp to have them "fixed". The teens have this attitude that they just need to be left alone and that they can take care of themselves. It's all very black and white.

I was hoping for at least some kind of growth to occur with the main character; a moment of awakening or some event to take place that would suggest a level of maturity had been attained. But this was not to be. From the moment she arrives at the boot camp until the final escape when it gets burned to the ground, she's an icy bitch who frowns on another girl with weight issues and treats the staff like garbage. Admittedly it's not a very nice place to be, and in no way am I defending the horrendous abuse that does occur in the film towards some of the youth. Boot Camp just doesn't bother trying to convey any message other than, "Hey kids, it's not your fault that you are messed up. It's your parent's fault. And if they send you to a boot camp, you could get raped or killed."

The most interesting aspect of the story for me was the dynamics between the camp leader and his sister. It really did seem like he cared about the youth and had decent intentions. His plan of "saving" kids through these labor-intensive boot camps with extremely strict rules and consequences is not new and it has been proved to work in real life. He just became too obsessed with "making it work", and his vision flew off the rails after some very poor decisions, such as hiring that psycho ex-Marine to be head of security.

Most of the positive reviews for this flick talk about the evil camp leader and the equally evil parents. If you can watch Boot Camp with this one-sided view of "troubled" teens just being misunderstood and unfairly hassled by authority, than you will probably really enjoy it. You are also probably a teenager feeling the same way. Wait a few more years and watch it again. When you can no longer pump your fist at the end and say "hell yeah" when the camp burns to the ground, that is when you have finally grown up.
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