Mel Gibson Goes to EDGE OF DARKNESS

Edge of Darkness is an appropriate title for Mel Gibson’s latest starring vehicle because the name is as blandly formulaic as the movie, and it tells you upfront it’ll only go to the edge, not plunge you into something that could have been great.

Thomas Craven (Gibson), a Boston cop, is mad as hell after his daughter is killed right in front of him in an attack believed meant for him. As he investigates, he quickly realizes his daughter was the target and that she had a whole secret life he knew nothing about. His relentless search for answers uncovers corruption high up in the corporate world, not to mention within the government. He gets a little help from a shady character (Ray Winstone, having loads of fun) sent by people unknown to clean up the mess, but in the end, it’s Craven who’s going to blow the house down.

Let’s get something out of the way: Mel Gibson’s still got it as a movie star. Since he hasn’t been in a movie in eight years, I was shocked at first to see how much older he’s gotten. But it’s fitting that he’s not a cocksure pretty boy anymore; he’s a grieving father and the deeply etched lines on his face reflect every ounce of frustration he feels. Few actors can play righteous rage as effectively as Gibson, and when he unleashes it on the deserving parties, it’s highly satisfying.

Which is more than I can say about the movie, directed by Martin Campbell and based on a British ’80s miniseries he also helmed. It contains a couple shocking moments of violence that made me jump but other than that, there are few surprises here. If you’re familiar with a certain actor’s work, you’ll know who the bad guy is the minute he shows up because that’s all he ever plays. And is anyone stunned anymore to find corruption exists among politicians and Big Company? Yawn.

If there’s a reason to see this movie, it’s Gibson. His personal travails aside, he’s still a lethal weapon on screen after all these years.

Nerd verdict: Didn’t quite keep me on Edge of my seat

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18 Comments

  • Reply
    le0pard13
    January 29, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    I’m planning on for this weekend, PCN. And I’m very familiar with the British miniseries this is a remake of (it came out on R1 DVD late last year), and is one of the all-time best, IMO. At first, I was aghast they’d try and remake this. But, I’ve warmed up to film, given the cast and director. Actor Bob Peck made his name with his role as Craven in that British TV series, but Gibson is a great choice for this. I also appreciate how they’ve flipped the characters for the film (Americans for British, and a Brit for the American operative). Ray Winstone is a good choice for the one Joe Don Baker role he made so very his. Glad you got an early peak at this and gave us review. Thanks for this, PCN.

    p.s., I still heartily recommend the original miniseries; I don’t think you’d be disappointed with it.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      January 29, 2010 at 1:11 pm

      I was going to look into the miniseries because of my experience with State of Play. The six-hour BBC version was brilliant while the American version was incredibly disappointing, so I figured the same might be true with this. Thank you for confirming that for me.

      • Reply
        le0pard13
        January 31, 2010 at 7:16 pm

        I enjoyed the film after seeing it today. Yes, it’s not equal to the 6-hour British TV series. But, mainly for his performance, Gibson’s turn with the Craven character was quite enjoyable (like you said, no one does “righteous rage as effectively as” he. I found his interaction with his daughter (young and older) very moving, at times. Likely, this is because I have a daughter, and I’ve become a sucker for that kind of bond. Anyway, they kept the main points of the story (hard as hell to distill 6 hours to one hour forty-eight), and updated a few from the 80’s miniseries. Still, this actor still has presence on-screen. Thanks, PCN.

        • Reply
          Jen Forbus
          February 3, 2010 at 5:58 am

          I know what you mean about the father/daughter bond, I felt that way with THE PATRIOT. I thought Gibson did the parent bond very well in that movie as well.

  • Reply
    EIREGO
    January 29, 2010 at 2:05 pm

    Might not be his comeback film, but I could do with a little righteous indignation and some Mel Gibson-style justice these days. I’ll check it out.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      January 29, 2010 at 6:52 pm

      I should have Mel talk to my neighbor with the leaf blower and endlessly yappy dog.

  • Reply
    norma
    January 29, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    HI PCN, I´ll be waiting to see this movie. I like british tv series. I still enjoy watching Inspector Morse´s series again and again.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      January 29, 2010 at 6:52 pm

      I love British series. According to IMDb, this movie will open March 4 in Argentina.

      • Reply
        norma
        January 31, 2010 at 7:19 pm

        Very well PCN. Now I know when the movie opens here. Thank you!

  • Reply
    Shell Sherree
    January 29, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    I’m so glad to hear that Mel still has it, even if the movie is generally predictable. I was disappointed with some of his personal-life shenanigans but hopefully he’s got a grip and is back on a positive path again, as I’m fond of him as an actor. Thanks for another excellent review, PCN!!

  • Reply
    Pop Culture Nerd
    January 31, 2010 at 12:51 am

    It was interesting for me to see how he’s still a viable action hero, but in a different way. Before, he’d play sexy, dangerous types. There’s no sexy in this movie but that just makes him ALL dangerous.

  • Reply
    Jen Forbus
    January 31, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    When I saw the preview for this movie I was a bit shocked to see Gibson back in front of the camera instead of behind it. Shocked but excited because I’ve always loved him – action, comedy, drama. There wasn’t much he couldn’t pull off. This may be one I wait for the DVD of, we’ll see. Since I don’t go to the theater as often I as use to, I tend to be more selective about what I do spend my $10 on. Thanks PCN.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      February 1, 2010 at 1:03 pm

      I’m selective even when I have movie theater passes because I don’t want to waste them. If you’re going to watch this on DVD, sounds like—per lp13—the original British miniseries is the better way to go.

  • Reply
    Poncho
    February 1, 2010 at 12:39 am

    I don’t know. The whole thing didn’t excited me, and now with this great review of you, I think I’d rather wait until it’s on TV and there’s nothing on other channels.

    Thanks, PCN.

    By the way, I’ve nominated you to both the Kreativ Blogger and the Lesa’s “Creative Writer” Blogger Awards. I’m hoping for some outrageous truths (and lies) from you.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      February 1, 2010 at 1:06 pm

      Thank you, Poncho, for the award nominations! I’m great at outrageous lies and have truths that are crazy-sounding, too. Please give me some time to figure out how to do this.

  • Reply
    Donna
    February 1, 2010 at 4:26 pm

    Saw “Edge of Darkness” Sunday. Yeah, there were predictable moments but seeing Gibson onscreen again was a real treat! Hadn’t realized it had been 8 years starring in a movie. Thought he did a terrific job. The lines in his face may be from what he’s experienced in his personal life as well as being middle-aged…hmm, hard to think of him that way…but he has never failed to touch me emotionally. Laughing, crying…da guy still has it! Gibson was the driving force in the movie. I remember him in “Payback” and these type of roles suit him. He’s been a sexy sonofagun in films! I would practically pant at the sight of him! Silly, but hey…I’m human! Lol! The first movie of his I saw was “Gallipoli” – was very impressed with his acting and charisma. Still am. It’s been fun maturing together (for want of a better word). Seeing someone you’ve ‘hubba-hubba’d (sp?) at alot age with you…well, it’s pretty neat. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t consider Gibson or myself old at all! In fact, life is more fun. So here’s to a middle-aged lethal weapon – Gibson, of course! – who still makes me hot all over. Lol!

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      February 2, 2010 at 11:14 am

      Oh, man, Gallipoli made me sob. That ending ruined me. Have you ever seen him in Mrs. Soffel, Donna? That’s another good one.

      I love what you said about life being more fun as you get older. I think I’ve lived my life backwards. I was a really old kid and getting more immature every day.

      • Reply
        Donna
        February 3, 2010 at 8:20 am

        Never saw ‘Mrs Soffel’ but remember what it’s about. Gonna have to put that on my DVDs to see. As for being an old kid, can identify with that. I’m a middle child and always played peacemaker, etc. in the family. Still do to some extend but finally woke up and realized time was flying by. So I fly by with it by being young at heart. If that means getting more immature every day, then I’m with ya, girl! Lol!

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