Force of Nature – 2021

Director Michael Polish
Screenplay Cory Miller
Starring Emile Hirsch, Kate Bosworth, Mel Gibson, David Zayas, Stephanie Cayo, Will Catlett, Swen Temmel, Tyler Jon Olson, Jorge Luis Ramos

After going through a litany of straight to video films, it’s time for a Mel Gibson feature. Force of Nature is a brutal heist movie disguised poorly as a natural disaster film. The cast is something that may have been newsworthy a decade ago. Nowadays, their inclusion is more of a curiosity than anything. Both Hirsch and Bosworth were on the rise early in the century. Neither has played a significant role in a major release in some time. Mel Gibson, of course, has had a career in disarray since his divorce and arrest for DUI ages ago.

None of this would matter if the three of them could act anywhere close to the level of their earlier career. For the most part, their work in Force of Nature is not embarrassing. It’s not spectacularly memorable either.

Hirsch is Cardillo, a cop with a past that haunts him as he takes on a new partner. One of their first duties is to clear out the apartment building that is in the path of a hurricane that is headed towards Puerto Rico. That hurricane occupies much of the focus of the first 2/3 of the film. Then, just like that, it becomes a non-factor.

David Zayas, playing above his ability as the leader of a heist, saunters around, killing victims and accomplices in order to make his stake larger. Something tells me if he did this too many times, he’d run out of volunteers pretty quick.

Cardillo and his partner arrive at the apartment, meeting up with retired, sick cop Ray Barrett (Gibson) and his daughter, nurse Troy (Bosworth). She’s reasonable. He is not. There are several references to Ray being an asshole. This really means he will take out a few of the bad guys before they get him.

The acting, story and the effects are all limited as one might expect for a VOD effort. Gibson gives a bit of a greatest hits of his Lethal Weapon films. This is okay. He’s not done this a lot outside of that series, and I still enjoy the effort he puts into his role. One gets the feeling he’s quite a low maintenance actor, despite his reputation and past in directing.

The film is enjoyable for the most part. It loses steam anytime Gibson is not onscreen. If you don’t like Gibson, you can skip it.

(**1/2 out of *****)

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