Force of Nature
Emile Hirsch, Kate Bosworth, Mel Gibson
FilmInk rates movies out of $20 — the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
Some movies are so bad they’re good; this isn’t one of them.
With COVID shutting down production and pushing back major studio releases, distributors are frantically sifting through previously unreleased films to fill the gap – unfortunately, films like Force of Nature were kept hidden for good reason.
Some movies are so bad they’re good; this isn’t one of them. Director Michael Polish is clearly trying to revive the action blockbuster of the ‘90s, but this story is so paper-thin it makes D-grade Van Damme films look like Citizen Kane.
Force of Nature starts with a cliché prelude, introducing detective Cardillo (Emile Hirsch) and his fiancé/partner investigating reports of a shooting. Predictably, it goes wrong and we cut to Cardillo years later, now a suicidal cop living in Puerto Rico.
He is unwillingly partnered with an eager recruit (Stefanie Cayo) to move residents to shelter ahead of the Category 5 storm that’s about to hit. After an altercation at the supermarket, they escort a man back to his apartment complex, which is where they encounter criminal boss John The Baptist (played cartoonishly by Dexter’s David Zayas), who is there to steal “something” valuable.
Everything else in the film feels randomly conjured up to move the plot along. Mel Gibson plays a terminally-ill ex-cop who refuses to leave his apartment, along with his daughter (Kate Bosworth), who is also a doctor. Other residents conveniently serve their purpose too, whether it’s a paranoid ex-fed with an arsenal of weapons, another doctor who stocks just the right medicine, and someone with an exotic pet that is trained to hunt cops.
Emile Hirsch has seen better days, and honestly a bit young to be playing the Bruce Willis-inspired burnt-out and bitter cop. Kate Bosworth does what she can but is given the absolute worst lines in the film. The fact that she’s married to the director gives her somewhat of a leave pass.
If you’re watching this for the Mel Gibson performance, don’t waste your time. Seeing him ham it up in such a one-dimensional role is sad to see, especially given his off-screen rants and the rather distasteful Jewish accent he’s going for.
The fight scenes are messy, the dialogue is cringe-worthy, and characters give baffling back stories to try and make themselves more relatable to the audience and each other. After only one or two scenes together they suddenly respect, befriend and reward one another… even with the guy who trained his pet to kill cops.
With all the talented writers and directors out there struggling to get their break, it’s rather upsetting to know that so many people were involved and spent so much money making this.