Movie Review: Edge of Darkness (2010)

Mel Gibson and Danny Huston in Edge of Darkness

Photo: Warner Bros.

If you were looking for Edge of Darkness to be as entertaining as last year’s vengeful father thriller Taken you will be sorely disappointed. Surely that was the goal for Warner Bros. as it aims to take advantage of the exact same release date that earned Taken nearly $150 million at last year’s domestic box-office. However, WB shouldn’t be on the lookout for a similar return as the “from the director of Casino Royale” tagline and what’s left of Mel Gibson’s star power is sure to only grant this film a modest opening weekend as word-of-mouth won’t be strong.

Written by the same man that turned the Hong Kong thriller “Infernal Affairs” into the Boston area crime drama The Departed, William Monahan, this time, adapts the 1985 BBC miniseries of the same name into another Boston adventure and while the accents are over-cooked and obvious so are the mundane plot twists.

Gibson stars as Boston police officer Thomas Craven. His daughter Emma (Bojana Novakovic) has come home for a visit, but within minutes is puking in the street, into her soup bowl and shortly thereafter is lying on the floor in her father’s doorway bleeding out after taking a shotgun blast to the torso. Yeah, Emma’s having a bad day and while Thomas is originally assumed to be the target and Emma is the unfortunate one that caught the blast, her father’s investigation soon learns otherwise.

Edge of Darkness is a film filled with sinister villains that may as well be wearing signs around their neck that say “Bad Guy” on them they are so obvious. As if the mere casting of Danny Huston as C.E.O. of the mysterious Northmoor corporation wasn’t enough, Damian Young playing the sinister Senator Pine looks a lot like Jim Carrey in Lemony Snicket. All he needed was a white cat to complete the ensemble.

Gibson, too, wasn’t all that impressive as I often wondered if he was trying to audition for a role in the Farrelly brothers’ The Three Stooges or if he was just over-selling the accent. My guess is the latter, but you never know considering his frequent Stooges imitations in the Lethal Weapon series. Boop, boop, boop. Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.

Every move of this thing is telegraphed and while Mel investigates, if you aren’t willing to talk he’s likely to bash your face in. Occasionally he’ll only ask a name before smashing some guy in the nose and taking him for a tumble down a hill. Edge of Darkness is a beat-’em-over-the-head thriller that’s trying way too hard to be smart and comes off just plain dumb. It’s a film ripe for an episode of “Mystery Science Theater” as a laugh track would have made the third act more tolerable.

Director Martin Campbell has proven over time he can churn out a good actioner as evidenced by Casino Royale, GoldenEye (sort of) and Mask of Zorro, but this film just sits there — lifeless from the start to the point you begin questioning each scene rather than absorbing them. Such as how did that car know when she was going to open that door? Why didn’t they just kill him in the first place? Lord knows had they shot both Thomas and Emma in the opening act the audience would have been saved from the tedium that followed.



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