Sacrifice (2011) Movie Review


Cuba Gooding Jr. and Christian Slater in Sacrifice (2011) Movie Image

If you’re one of the few individuals who suffered through director Tibor Takács’ excruciatingly painful 2009 effort “Lies and Illusions”, then I’m sure you’re wondering, “Why in the hell would I even be remotely interested in watching yet another direct-to-video thriller starring Cuba Gooding Jr. and Christian Slater?” To be perfectly honest, I can’t blame you. “Lies and Illusions” was a particularly awful STV suspense yarn, even by Cuba’s lowly standards. And while I can’t say that writer/director Damian Lee’s 2011 action/drama “Sacrifice” is any worse than the pair’s previous endeavor, it’s certainly not any stronger. Although Slater has been involved in much better productions as of late, this is pretty much par for the course for Mr. Gooding, whose cinematic stock just seems to keep plummeting deeper and deeper into the mire. It’s a damn shame.

Gooding stars as John Hebron, a cop who’s recently been dealt a serious emotional blow. In an unspeakably brutal act of vengeance, Hebron’s wife and daughter are savagely murdered by a villainous felon he put in prison. Not surprisingly, this tragic event has destroyed nearly every aspect of the cop’s entire existence, including the ability to take down criminals without breaking all the rules. However, his skills will be put to the ultimate test when a teenage drug dealer is murdered by the head of a local cartel (Kim Coates) inside a Catholic church. Left in the aftermath of this heinous crime is the dealer’s five year-old sister, who has nowhere left to go. Not one to leave little kids twiddling their thumbs on the mean streets of Toronto, Hebron takes in the tyke, his cold, dead heart begins to beat again, and they all live happily ever after.

Christian Slater in Sacrifice (2011) Movie Image

Wrong! The cartel kidnaps the dead drug pusher’s sister in hopes of finding a statue of the Virgin Mary made completely out of heroin, an item which her brother once held in his possession. Hebron, of course, isn’t going to take this sort of nonsense lying down. In order to effectively crush the opposition, rescue the little girl, and get his life back on track, our hero enlists the help of Father Porter (Christian Slater), a soft-spoken priest who’s attempting to make peace with his past. Before he was a man of the cloth, Porter was executing covert operations in Iraq, and his soul is a little wonky because of it. Although he’s reluctant to fall back his deadly set of skills and abilities, the priest eventually agrees to help Hebron on his mission to reduce crime to a bloody pulp. And if they have time, they’ll save a life or two along the way.

My synopsis has been purposely jazzed up. “Sacrifice”, despite the smattering of action sprinkled throughout its second half, is hopelessly dull; checking the clock on the DVD player is never a good sign, especially when you’re dealing with a supposed “action/thriller”. If melodrama is your thing, there’s plenty to be had, as Damien Lee never passes up a chance to show just how much that little girl is warming Hebron’s big ol’ crime-bustin’ heart. The picture is beyond drab, and, had Lee opted to remove all of the violent content, could easily pass as something you’d find on the likes of Oxygen and Lifetime. Not that there’s anything wrong with the movies they show those cable networks, mind you, but when you’re expecting something a bit more action-packed, you can’t help but feel a little ripped off. A few helpings of low-budget action cannot overshadow the long stretches of boredom you’re forced to sit through. And when I say long stretches, I mean very long stretches of boredom. Bring a book, a Kindle, or, better yet, another movie.

Cuba Gooding Jr. in Sacrifice (2011) Movie Image

“Sacrifice” is not a good film, although I think it really wants to be. Sorry about your luck, kiddo. Better luck next time. So unimpressed was I by this cinematic milquetoast that I’m actually a little wary of Gooding’s “The Hit List”, yet another direct-to-video opus destined to collect dust in Netflix distribution warehouses. On the plus side, Kim Coates can be seen doing his thing, and you’ve got the big brother from “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” trying to act like a badass, but that’s really about all the film has to offer. Shame on Damien Lee for wasting Christian Slater as a former special ops solider-turned-Catholic priest. That should have been a movie all on its own. Unfortunately, there’s nothing to recommend to those who don’t mind watching middle-of-the-road thrillers starring actors who should know better. I’m assuming these people are out there somewhere. After all, they only make movies like “Sacrifice” if someone out there is paying to watch them.

Damien Lee (director) / Damien Lee (screenplay)
CAST: Cuba Gooding Jr. … John Hebron
Lara Daans … Jade
Christian Slater … Father Porter
Kim Coates … Arment
Devon Bostick … Mike
Arcadia Kendal … Angel

Author: Todd Rigney

Todd was raised on a steady diet of Hollywood blockbusters, late-night Cinemax programming, and USA’s “Up All Night,” which may explain why his taste in movies is more than a little questionable. When he isn’t providing news and reviews for Beyond Hollywood, he can be found lounging lazily on his couch, perched in front of his television, or dwelling in places where direct sunlight can be easily avoided. He's happily married, in his 30's, and totally badass. If you'd like to reach Todd, you can follow him on Twitter or send him email/scoops to todd (at)
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  • Loannut9

    i agree, the acting is horrible, the story is slow, I turned it off after 30 minutes. The gun shots even sounded muffled, not real sounding at all. But after reading the review above, knowing that Christian Slater’s character gets involved in the rukus, I may watch the rest to save what is left of my rental fee.

    • Bsmilfmama

      Are u all prejudice or something? It was an amzing movie! They’re all great actors what would it’d’ve been better if it was tom cruise in the leading roll? Cuba rocks watch the movie its very worth it and guess what u have to have an imagination and a heart to fully enjoy and understand the movie try being open minded and quit basing every movie on the top rated in hollywood some of the best movies are lower budgeted so give it a chance and remember have an imagination cubas not supposed to be protrayed as enthusiastic he is a dead man walking as they always put it but he is dead inside a shell so yes he seems uninteresting but if u lost everything ud be the same so he plays his character to the fullest and the movie rocked!

  • Bsmilfmama

    I think no I know this was is! An amazing movie the actors were fabulous lettme guess u don’t like cubas acting? Or is there another reason? He’s an amazing actor and from what I read a pretty awesome person so is christian slater and the other actors as well were also amazing no offense intended on not knowing ur names I’m new to this but u were all amazing it was a good movie no great movie and I hope to see a second maybe they’ll have more money and can really kick ass cubas amazing he can play any character crom handiccaped to crazy to funny peppy upbeat nutjob in jerry mcguire to this heart torn not sadistic but revengeful man with a strained voice making his character really come to life and his heart opening after all the time for that precious little girl I love u cubs ur amazing u to slater and all the others who starred in that amazing film!

  • crome14

    Christian Slater did not really portray the behavior of a Catholic Priest very well . He seemed to be just saying the words and not believeing any of it. Or he seemed like a guy that hated being in the priesthood. Lately all the films that he is in these days seem to disappoint me. The last time I liked him in a film was in ‘Young Guns’ with Emilio Estevez. Please Christian …… find better characters or scripts that you believe in or just do something else….. ( a fan from the 1980-90’s generation)