Mel Gibson hasn’t lost much star power since his last screen appearance more than half a dozen years ago, unfortunately the script of this picture lets him down. Should’ve been my kind of thing too: Mel’s a Boston cop whose daughter gets shot and he goes looking for the fool who did it.
Now I sometimes get a little squeamish about these vigilante pictures because the filmmakers feel they have to rape the guy’s wife and torture his children onscreen before we’ll get behind his mission of vengeance. Me, I sign on for vengeance when I read the story synopsis. I don’t want to watch the kids die. But Edge of Darkness handles the set-up really well. The opening is compact, efficient and moving. It’s the rest that goes bad.
This is based on an Australian TV series and therein, probably, lies the problem. The plot is overstuffed for a film, not to mention obscure and emotionally lame. The villains seem European and improbable in an American setting. And the resolution doesn’t bring us anywhere different from where we were in the beginning. That’s the worst part. There’s a lot of grief and killing here but the story road leads us in a circle back to the same place we started.
Anyway, great Mel, excellent Ray Winstone in a part that makes no sense, and an absolutely wonderful debut by Gabrielle Popa, who plays Mel’s daughter as a little girl. But don’t waste your time. It’s lifeless stuff.