• Mike Holtz

Mel Gibson In A Hurricane - FORCE OF NATURE Review

Directed by: Michael Polish (Northfork)

Starring: Mel Gibson (Lethal Weapon), Emile Hirsch (The Girl Next Door), Kate Bosworth (Blue Crush) and David Zayas (The Expendables)

Plot Synopsis: Cops trying to evacuate an apartment building during a surging hurricane are trapped inside while a group of gangsters try to hunt them and the remaining tenants down.

There's something really odd about a disaster movie starring Mel Gibson going straight to VOD. I understand the reasons why in today's climate but that doesn't make it any weirder. The last time we were treated to a genre film set in the eye of a storm was Alexandre Aja's CRAWL. That worked out fantastically with a creature feature set against the backdrop of a beautiful raging storm but then again they had something important for a storm film. The money backing for a wide theatrical release.

FORCE OF NATURE doesn't really attempt the storm scenery shots at any point but it does factor into the plot in a myriad of ways. Police communications are down and so is the ability to call for backup. The storm is always raging around us, even if we don't see it, we hear it and see it's darkness in the windows. All the good guys and all the bad guys are trapped by it. There's definitely a storm flick ambience to the film and if you don't have the money to really go for the special effects, this is probably best.

Mel Gibson plays a retired cop who's too hard headed to leave the apartment during the hurricane and his daughter (Bosworth) solicits the help of a slacker cop (Hirsch) to help her force him out. Gibson isn't as central to the plot as fans would like (even if he seems he's going to be at first) and there's one particular moment where his character makes a stupid decision that will really have you screaming, "This guy is supposed to be a seasoned police officer?" It's such a cheap and fast moment that it completely derails the momentum and gave me painful flashbacks to that EXECUTIVE DECISION between Kurt Russell and Steven Seagal. Still pissed.

Despite totally botching the landing, FORCE OF NATURE is still a decent action thriller for the first couple of acts and hosts some nice performances from Gibson, Bosworth and Hirsch. The main bad guy (Zayas) is believably scary and has some James Gandolfini stylings to his performance; It's always nice to see one of actings greats on the screen again in Mel Gibson and I love a good storm movie (backdrop or forefront) so FORCE OF NATURE is barely enough of each of those things to pass for a decent rainy day watch. Mel Gibson still reigns supreme in his version of a straight to video action film as opposed to some of Stallone's, Van Damme's (Except for THE BOUNCER, which was great) and especially Seagal's VOD offerings.


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