REVIEW: Edge of Darkness

27 07 2010

Some movies are no one’s idea of a masterpiece. Martin Campbell, who directed the acclaimed “Casino Royale,” made the pretty average “The Legend of Zorro” as well. William Monahan, who won the Oscar for writing “The Departed,” was also responsible for bringing middle-of-the-road entertainment like “Kingdom of Heaven” and “Body of Lies” to the screen. Mel Gibson, who starred in the beloved “Braveheart,” has more than a few rotten movies littering his mostly impressive resume.

Then there are movies that are no one’s idea of good, and each of the three men above did their part to bring about the disaster that is “Edge of Darkness.” It’s a tragic misstep for all – deplorably written, poorly directed, and miserably acted.

The movie is that same kind of revenge thriller that he has been attracted to in the past (“Ransom” and “Payback,” just to name a few), only it has an unnecessary and convoluted backstory of political intrigue. We’d be plenty happy to watch Mel kick butt and take names, as I suspect that’s the main reason a lot of people have wanted to see this movie. But we only get a YouTube video-length glimpse of the untethered Gibson, which is apparently not too much different than the actor himself.

Instead, we are forced to watch him to try to act stricken with sadness and grief as he mourns his murdered daughter. It borders on painful to watch him try, especially whenever he talks to her as if she walks beside him. Eventually, he puts on the mask of vengeance and winds up caught in his daughter’s web of political intrigue. He starts messing with some massive power players. For him, it’s personal, but for them, it’s business. Eventually, the story becomes tiring and tedious, and all we want is to see Mel Gibson unleashed. That’s not too much to ask for, is it? But Monahan and Campbell insist on trying to craft a “smart thriller,” something they are incapable of doing at least on this movie.

“Edge of Darkness” is more of an epitaph than a movie. Gather here to mourn these fallen talents, it seems to cry. Perhaps Monahan needs Scorsese’s vision to succeed; perhaps Campbell needs the stakes of a hero like James Bond to make a movie work; perhaps Mel Gibson just needs some help. C- /


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5 responses

27 07 2010
rtm

Y’know, I like The Mask of Zorro, but Legend of Zorro? Not so much. Anything with Rufus Sewell being criminally underused is well… a crime! I do love Casino Royale, and boy that must be a tough one to live up to even for Campbell. Clearly he didn’t with this one, too bad though, the trailer was quite promising and I even put it on my Top Ten Most Anticipated list for this year. Alas, I haven’t seen it yet as the reviews are discouraging.

As for the last sentence, yes Mel needs some help, in more ways than one!

27 07 2010
Marshall

Funny enough, I even wrote this review BEFORE Mel’s latest blowup. Guess it rings even more true now!

28 07 2010
Castor

This wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t good either. Quite boring and generic I thought. So many ridiculous scenes like the ones where the daughter gets shot and the one where the woman gets out of Mel Gibson’s car and instantaneously gets run over by a speeding car (how did he time that perfectly????)

28 07 2010
Marshall

It’s the movies – the ridiculous can happen! The real miracle is that Mel got out of the car and didn’t unleash any sort of tirade to offend some ethnic or social group.

28 07 2010
Branden

This was supposed to be Mel Gibson’s comeback movie. It was “meh” with it. It was mediocre. I had no idea what the hell Ray Winstone was saying in that movie. The set-up is tired.

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