Movie Review: Edge of Darkness
Taken Part II: Killed. That was my first reaction after first seeing the trailer for Edge of Darkness a few months ago. You know what they say about judging books by their covers? Well, that applies to movies and their trailers as well.
While Taken is as straight forward as an Illinois interstate, Edge of Darkness more closely resembles an Appalachian highway with all of its twists and turns. Take your take your eyes off the road for a second, and you might fall off a cliff.
Mel Gibson is back in his first starring role since 2002’s Signs as detective Tom Craven. His daughter returns home from her job which she calls a “glorified internship,” and she isn’t feeling too well. While leaving the house to go to the hospital, she is shot and killed with her father right at her side. The initial thinking is that Tom was the target, but detective Craven knows better. Business has officially picked up, and Craven will stop at nothing to find his daughter’s murderer. She never told him anything about her work, and we soon learn why as Craven begins uncovering things he never knew about his daughter.
It is basically impossible to explain any more of the plot without giving away some of the more intricate elements of the story as the conspiracies and bodies continue to pile up around Craven. The 54 year-old jacked and tanned Mel Gibson is completely believable in all the action sequences and delivers his many one-liners with the authority that only a seasoned veteran can. When Mel whips his coat open and grabs for his gun, we all know he means business.
Director Martin Campbell, who has brought us two of the better James Bond films in Goldeneye and Casino Royale, has also assembled an impressive cast of character actors for the supporting roles. Ray Winstone is a scene stealer as a man whose side of the scenario we are never really too sure about. Danny Huston, who has pretty much nailed down the role of “intellectual villain,” plays the daughter’s boss and the head of an evil corporation.
I tend to liken watching a movie like Edge of Darkness to a long, hard night of drinking. Sure, it was a lot of fun while it lasted, but it comes and goes without leaving any sort of lasting impact. By tomorrow I’m going to forget almost all the plot’s finer details, and will only remember brief glimpses of something I experienced just a day ago. Its kind of like a cinematic hangover.
The plot becomes a bit convoluted as new characters and wrinkles in the story are added in seemingly every scene, but the film does a good job of keeping us involved and never letting us feel at ease. Just when we think we can relax, we become witness to another double cross or shocking murder.
I used to wonder who would replace these older action heroes from the ’80s, guys like Gibson, Bruce Willis and Sylvester Stallone. Now I’ve figured out the answer. It isn’t the actors who need to be replaced, it is the stories that need to be written or modified in order to make sure that our favorite cinematic ass-kickers can continue entertaining us. With this has come the emergence of the “angry father” genre, which is a hell of a lot of fun to watch.
RIYL: The Constant Gardener, Live Free or Die Hard, City by the Sea.