With a history of racist and misogynistic incidents already following him around everywhere he goes, including once calling Jewish Winona Ryder an ‘oven dodger‘, the last thing Mel Gibson needs is for his new ‘disaster heist movie’ Force of Nature to flop. Unfortunately for him though, early reviews have not been kind.
It could have something to do with the awful timing of its release. Mel Gibson’s co-star Emile Hirsch plays a white American cop in Puerto Rico who refuses to learn Spanish and lost his NYPD job for getting an innocent woman killed when he recklessly fired his weapon. Awkward.
Gibson meanwhile plays a former cop who refuses to evacuate his apartment building during Hurricane Maria, which killed approximately 4,645 people in 2017, and is then forced to do battle with a gang of thieves.
Reviews have criticised the references to police brutality, ethnic stereotyping and the white saviour narratives that run throughout the film – not to mention the casting.
Here’s what the critics are saying:
To say that a real-life tragedy deserves more respect than simply being exploited as a backdrop for a trivial B movie about an art heist would be putting it mildly.
The actors are helpless against a script that forces them to trade simpering backstories when they’re not shooting to kill or making bad jokes.
The truth, of course, is that Force of Nature, much like the consequences of the hurricane that clearly inspired it, is a man-made disaster.
Their hits and misses playing out like a bad Die Hard knockoff. An obvious reveal leads to a massively disappointing climax. Force of Nature is a big wet flop.
Knowing the significant lead time on a movie’s release, it’s not Force of Nature‘s fault it’s so exquisitely timely in its tone-deaf tastelessness. Granted, it would’ve been just as tone-deaf and tasteless six months ago, and no film exists in a vacuum.
For the sake of argument, let’s say it does exist in a vacuum: It’s a chintzy collection of boilerplate action-thriller cliches slapped together in a cynical and derivative manner, a monument to generic, style-free filmmaking. And it deserves to be in a vacuum — the vacuum of outer space. Let it be sucked into the void.
There’s arguably nothing the world needs less right now than Force of Nature, a movie starring Mel Gibson and Emile Hirsch as trigger-happy cops with violent pasts and take-no-prisoners attitudes who are tasked with rescuing a Black man, a rookie Latina officer, and a Nazi descendant (and his stolen artwork) from evil Puerto Rican villains during a Category 5 hurricane in San Juan.
What would be tasteless retrograde nonsense at any other time resounds during this particular moment in U.S. history as almost cataclysmically tone-deaf and insulting, turning director Michael Polish’s thriller (on VOD June 30) into the year’s most misbegotten venture.
It’s not all bad news though, because Variety enjoyed the film! Their reviewer said Mel Gibson ‘gives good value’ and that the film makes for ‘an enjoyable night’s entertainment’. Similarly, Deadline called it ‘not half bad’ and ‘almost an old-fashioned item that fondly recalls a world where Dirty Harry and Lethal Weapon were the order of the day in theatres’. So yeah, it’s not completely impossible that you’ll enjoy it.
Either way, even if Mel Gibson is a colossal piece of shit, he is an absolute legend of film and so he might have enough die-hard supporters out there to ensure this movie isn’t a total flop. But even without all the complaints listed by those reviews and the unfortunate timing of its release, that trailer isn’t exactly setting the world on fire.
For a look at new film ‘Cracka’ which imagines a world where blacks are slave owners and whites are slaves, click HERE.