Relocated to Boston and after a rather staged opening scene, the action pits Mel Gibson (Thomas Craven) as a Boston PD detective welcoming his pretty Daughter Bojana Novakovic, back to the family home where she grew up.
Almost before the kettle is boiling, a tragedy occurs that is as unexpected as it is brutal in it’s execution, in more ways than one.
Gibson is then free to release “angry vengeance filled Mel”, a persona that audiences have loved and embraced in the past.
Looking older than when we last saw him in front of the camera in M Night Shalamayan’s “Signs” 2003, this is “angry Mel lite”. Gibson giving the appearance here, that he is tired of playing these roles, although he is not best served by some rather leaden direction, somewhat surprisingly from Martin Campbell of “Goldeneye” fame.
Unsurprisingly, following the death of his daughter, suspicion falls on the fact that Craven was the intended target. Seemingly allowed to be part of the case, Craven starts investigating his daughter’s life, most of which appears to have been unknown to him.
We are thrust into the shadowy and murky world of Nuclear plants, mysterious quasi governmental organisations and dubious politicians. Meetings in underground car parks and black SUV’s, standard movie bad guy behaviour and transport.
The head office of “Northmoor” appears as a cross between a Bond lair and Apple headquarters, which is a surprising choice for the work conducted there, perhaps they are attempting to hide in plain sight.
Ray Winstone appears in a role (Jedbergh) that is never really fully explained. As usual, he adds much needed gravitas and posts another impressive turn to his excellent resume.
Danny Huston as the CEO who may or may not be who he says he is, is welcome but the overall film seems lacklustre. Perhaps too many compromises had to be made to compress a TV series into a cinema friendly running time.
There is a rather halfhearted attempt to highlight the sudden priority of the case bearing in mind the “officer involved” status but this plot strand is a dead end. Cravens partner & friend is used to some good effect but again this relationship feels underwritten and rather weak.
As there are relatively few action sequences, the film rests on Gibson’s shoulders. Whilst he plays grief stricken and tortured with ease, on this occasion he does not appear up to the challenge of carrying the movie. There is no real sense of him filling the screen in the absence of any effects or action. Director Roland Emmerich when asked about the lack of effects in “The Patriot “, declared that Gibson is my $20m special effect, Gibson’s salary at the time. On this evidence, the effect is not as special as perhaps it once was.
A rather disappointing effort bearing in mind the excellent source material.
A fair thriller attempt but barely rising above a “movie of the week” level of excitement and spectacle.
A welcome return to the other side of the camera for Gibson but he is capable of much more.