Is We Die Young Based on a True Story?

With Lior Geller at the helm, ‘We Die Young’ is a refreshing action crime drama movie that focuses on how the children grapple with a volatile atmosphere in a poverty-stricken neighborhood. Lucas, a kid of age 14, is working with a gang despite his best reluctance toward such a life. At this juncture, he vows that he will never allow his 10-year-old brother to be a part of the gang.

When Daniel, a war veteran, comes to town looking for some drugs to escape his trauma, the siblings find a golden ticket to get out of the hellhole. The situation spirals out of control when the gang leaders get into the equation. Now, you must be wondering if there is any grain of truth in ‘We Die Young.’ In that case, allow us to spill more beans.

Is We Die Young a True Story?

No, ‘We Die Young’ is not based on a true story. But with Jean Claude Van Damme in an emotionally challenging role, the film steers away from hackneyed action-thriller movies by concealing a message for the populace about endangered children in the criminal underground. At the same time, the movie lends an empathetic look at a war veteran’s life. Therefore, although marketed as a commercial action movie, the film deviates from the norm quite a bit, all the while managing to keep the viewers hooked.

Jean Claude Van Damme expressed that the movie was more about the aftermath of the violence than its spectacles. Lior Geller, the director, wrote the screenplay from a story by himself and Andrew Friedman. While working on the screenplay, Geller undertook a lot of research about the impact of war on a veteran’s psyche. The director took the cast members to meet FBI agents and gangs to make the film more realistic. As all the stars were invested in the project, it oozes an unmistakable realism.

With about a million dollars worth of budget, the director had to film much of the movie on constructed sets. Thus, the engagement of the cast ensemble was crucial, and consequentially, everyone delivered their absolute best. However, the job was more difficult for legendary actor Jean Claude Van Damme since he could not speak for most parts of the movie. Van Damme’s character Daniel has a tracheostomy tube down his throat from an injury on the battlefield.

Without speech, the veteran actor had to make do with his expressions. And J. C. V. D., as his vast fan base knows him, adequately handled the daunting task. The seasoned actor has conveyed a broad range of expressions only using his eyes. Moreover, to highlight the movie’s message, Lior Geller arranged for a screening of the film with the past and present members of the army. By doing so, the director wanted to spread awareness about how to keep the children in the community safe.

Furthermore, the crime rate in Washington DC was rising at an alarming rate even after the movie came out. In 2021 alone, the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department reported 226 homicides, the highest annual murder count in around two decades. Another worrying statistic indicated a spike in the juvenile crime segment. Multiple children aged between 13 and 15 were brought into custody in the year. The charges were varied, from unarmed to armed carjacking to armed robberies. Hence, after looking at all the aspects, we can safely contend that ‘We Die Young’ is based on realistic grounds, even if not a true story.

Read More: Where Was We Die Young Filmed?