Story

Wade, Ryan and Emmit are 12 years old and tend to stand out in a crowd: Wade (Nate Hartley) is tall and skinny, Ryan (Troy Gentile) is short and overweight and Emmit is the ‘geek’. The film begins with Wade and Ryan excited about day one of their high school lives. But the day turns into a total disaster when Wade speaks out against a psychopathic school bully named Filkins (Alex Frost), and as a result becomes the target of the bully himself. When day two turns out to be an even bigger disaster, the trio place an ad in Soldier of Fortune magazine to hire a personal bodyguard.

After interviewing a number of candidates, the boys decide upon Drillbit Taylor (Owen Wilson), an ex-army ranger who tells the boys that he was discharged from the army for ‘unauthorised terrorism’. In fact, Drillbit Taylor is a homeless person who begs for money, lives in the park and showers nude on the local beach.

Drillbit deceives the boys into believing he can teach them army fighting skills that will protect them from Filkins, while in reality he is stealing silverware and iPods from their homes. When Wade receives another beating from Filkins, Drillbit has a change of heart and decides to start really protecting the boys. He dons one of Wade’s father’s suits and goes to school with the intent of keeping a close eye on the boys. However, as soon as Drillbit sets foot in school he is mistaken for a substitute teacher, setting in motion a series of events that allows Drillbit to unleash some payback on the boys’ behalf.

Themes

Bullying

Violence

Drillbit Taylor contains violence, some of which is designed to be comical, while other violence is of a more brutal manner. Most of the film’s violence focuses on the bullying and intimidation of younger 12-year-old students by older 18-year-old students. The film also contains violence enacted by adult males against other adult males. Examples include:

  • Emmit, an undersized 12-year-old boy, is roughly handled, picked up, carried and then forced into a small school locker by 18-year-old Filkins and another older boy. The locker door is closed on Emmit’s hand. 
  • Filkins and another boy humiliate Wade and Ryan in front of other students by forcing the boys to wear the same T-shirt at the same time (like Siamese twins).
  • Filkins grabs Wade by the throat in a threatening manner.
  • Filkins humiliates Wade by pushing him into a urinal, causing the front of Wade’s pants to become saturated.
  • Filkins deliberately pours drink onto a computer terminal Wade has been using, causing the terminal to short circuit.
  • Drillbit sets fire to a student’s wooden model in order to set off fire sprinklers.
  • Wade has his pants pulled down in front of his fellow students, his camera is deliberately smashed, and Filkins kicks Wade while Wade is lying helplessly on the ground.
  • A younger student sitting on a wheelchair is deliberately pushed into metal lockers.
  • Wade, Ryan and Emmit discuss the idea of hiring a bodyguard to beat up kids that bother them. The boys talk about high school fights being brutal.
  • Filkins drives a large, black, high-performance car in a reckless manner while attempting to run down Wade, Ryan and Emmit. When the boys escape behind a garage door, Filkins gets out of his car and headbuts the garage’s metal door in frustration.
  • When interviewing potential bodyguards, one candidate asks whether they want the kid (Filkins) killed quickly or slowly, while another candidate opens his jacket to reveal an armory of knifes. During the interview session a fight breaks out between two of the candidates resulting in the men punching each other in the face and one hitting the other over the head with a bag, knocking the man to the ground.
  • A man tells Wade, Ryan and Emmit that he hates kids like them.
  • Drillbit tells Wade, Ryan and Emmit that he is going to teach them how to kick arse.
  • Wade, Ryan and Emmit talk about being frightened by a Samurai sword that Filkins openly displays.
  • In one scene Drillbit has Filkins and another boy hanging from the ceiling by short ropes, Drillbit then turns on a ball-serving machine that hurls balls at the rope dangling pair.
  • While attempting to teach Wade, Ryan and Emmit self-defence techniques, Drillbit is grabbed and tackled to the ground by the boys, Drillbit hurls Ryan down a steep slope, and scares Emmit into running head-on into a tree knocking himself out cold.
  • Filkins punches Wade in the face knocking Wade to the ground. Wade is later seen with a bruised eye and cheek.
  • Filkins punches and pushes Wade.
  • Filkins punches Drillbit in the face, there is the sound of bone breaking and Drillbit’s nose appears obviously broken.
  • A man punches Drillbit in the face. Drillbit kicks another man in the face with the man hanging onto the door of a moving truck and then falling off.
  • Filkins insults Wade telling Wade that he doesn’t have ‘any balls’ and that he is ‘sackless’, Filkins then slaps Wade across the face causing Wade’s glasses to come off.
  • To practise taking punches, Wade and Ryan punch each other in the stomach, face, forehead, back and the groin with Ryan eventually falling to the ground.
  • At a party, Wade and Ryan punch Filkins in the face and then kick him in the groin with Filkins falling to the ground. Filkins grabs a light stand and wields it as a weapon smashing wildly at Wade and Ryan. Filkins smashes the light stand into a stairs banister rail smashing the rail to pieces. Filkins tells the crowd that he wants to fight ‘both these bitches’ (Wade and Ryan). Filkins hits Emmit across the head knocking him out, and punches Wade several times in the stomach. Drillbit arrives at the party and calls a stop to the fighting. Filkins laughs and punches Drillbit several times in the face.
  • When Drillbit learns that Filkins is legally an adult (18 years of age) he punches Filkins in the face and kicks him in the head knocking him to the ground. In retaliation, Filkins hurls a Samurai sword at Wade, which Drillbit catches mid-air saving Wade’s life. Drillbit loses a little finger in the process. The finger is severed by the sword and then run over by a car.

Content that may disturb children

Under 8

  • There are images of men who look threatening and have mean looking faces, gruff sounding voices and arms and shoulder covered in tattoos. 
  • Towards the end of the film, Drillbit uses his bare hand to catch a sword thrown through the air. As he catches the sword, it severs his little finger; it falls off and is then run over by a car. Later the stub of Drillbit’s raw and slightly bloody finger is briefly depicted. 

From 8-13

In addition to the violent scenes, children in this age group are particularly likely to be disturbed by the level of bullying which occurs and the reaction of parents and teachers to the boys’ requests for help, including the following:

  • The school principal laughs at Wade, Ryan and Emmit when they tell him they are being bullied and called ‘Siamese queers’.
  • When Wade tries to talk to his stepfather about being bullied, his stepfather responds by asking Wade why you would want to protect a kid from a bully, further telling Wade that it is the natural order and that he was a bully at school.

Over 13

Children in this age group may also be disturbed by the level of bullying and adult responses to it.

Sexual references

  • When Wade’s stepfather enters Wade’s room, he tells Wade to get some chicks on the wall (pin-ups).
  • In one scene a British/Colombian girl is referred to as a ‘potent mix’.
  • Wade and Ryan are referred to as ‘Siamese queers’.
  • In one scene Wade and his friends referred to Filkins and his friends as ‘gang bangers’. 
  • Drillbit tells Ryan to ‘watch his ball in the morning’.
  • Reference is made to a one and only ‘nut hair’ (pubic hair).
  • One man says he is not going to ‘bang’ another man.
  • During a rap singing content, Ryan tells Filkins to ‘suck on my family jewels bitch’.
  • A teacher asks Wade’s class to give him another name for gonorrhoea. The teacher then refers to the disease as the clap and the drip. The class is then show images of a gonorrhoea diseased penis (image inferred rather than depicted) and the boys in the class all cringe.
  • In a scene in which Drillbit flirts with a female teacher, she refers to him as a ‘bad boy’, and tells him that he seems like a man who can accomplish a lot. When Drillbit is called away he tells her that he will be back in four minutes, the teacher tells Drillbit that she will keep the couch warm and reference is then made to using a fire extinguisher to put out the flames.
  • Drillbit takes a female teacher out on a date. During the date, the teacher tells Drillbit how she is attracted to men who are losers, dirt-bags and lying pigs.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

This movie contains one instance of mild substance use, and some drug related references:

  • Before a party Evan Ryan and Emmit each drink a can of Red Bull energy drink.
  • Reference is made a couple of times to Caffeine Crunch breakfast cereal.
  • While begging for money, a man gives Drillbit some money (a note) and then asks Drillbit if he is going to spend the money on marijuana. The man writes on the note, ‘Not for pot’ and then tells Drillbit ‘You’ll feel silly if you buy weed with that’.
  • While trying to sell stolen goods a man makes the comment: ‘Half your customers are crack heads’.   
  • Wade’s father makes reference to weirdo friends having a ‘marijuana party’, and Wade’s mother asks him if he is smoking pot. Wade’s parents make reference to him taking drugs from people at school.

Nudity and sexual activity

  • There are a couple of images of Drillbit taking a shower in public in the nude. Drillbit’s naked back, buttocks and legs are shown.
  • Women are shown wearing low cut top with exposed cleavage.
  • Filkins calls Wade a ‘bitch’ and slaps Wade on the bottom. 
  • Wade has his pants pulled down revealing his underwear. 
  • Wade, Ryan and Emmit come across two high school-aged girls sun baking and lying face down in their bikinis. The boys stop and take photos of the bikini-clad girls with their mobile phones. Photos are then taken of Wade lying between the two girls.
  • Drillbit walks into a classroom to find a female teacher sitting in a seductive manner on a desk. Drillbit walks into the room and the teacher jumps off of the desk and onto Drillbit wrapping her legs around Drillbit’s waist. The scene then cuts to the female teacher walking out of the room pulling down her rumpled skirt. 
  • During a party, Ryan grabs an unknown girl by the head and kisses her on the mouth, the girl then slaps Ryan across the face.
  • Towards the end of the film, a high school-aged girl kisses Wade briefly on the lips. 

Product placement

The product Red Bull energy drink is used in this movie.

Coarse language

This movie contains some medium-level coarse language and put-downs.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Drillbit Taylor is a high school comedy based around the bullying of new students by older students. Although the film contains some humour, the film’s portrayal of the systematic bullying of defenceless younger students by older students and the response of adults to this is far from humorous. As a result, some viewers might find Drillbit Taylor more disturbing than entertaining.

Although this movie shows that individuals who stick together and persevere can defeat bullying, the film contains more negative messages than positive. For example, it suggests that:

  • If you are being bullied at school, the bully will be believed and supported by the school system rather than the victim.
  • Bullying is the ‘natural order’ of the school ground, and students should not support the victims of bullies, or speak up against bullies.
  • The only way for victims to deal with bullies is to get back at the bullies using violent means. 

You might wish to discuss these messages and the appropriate ways in which your family, school and other individuals can deal with bullying.