Published Jan 29, 2010Based on the 1985 BBC miniseries of the same name, Edge of Darkness has Mel Gibson in front of the camera for the first time since a smallish role in The Singing Detective in 2003.
Gibson plays Thomas Craven, a police chief living alone in Boston. While his daughter is visiting, fresh off a stint working at a shady nuclear resource centre, she's brutally gunned down on his front porch. Due to his position, the investigation points to Craven as the target, but he soon uncovers his daughter's involvement in stopping a nefarious government conspiracy. At first, Craven appears a gentle fatherly figure, but soon Gibson (or at least his stunt double) is given ample opportunities to participate in slam-bang heroics once again.
However, the violence in Edge of Darkness doesn't carry the same ludicrous humour as the Lethal Weapon series. The deaths staged in the film are more akin to the Final Destination-style of picking off minor characters with loud volume at unsuspecting moments. And these are the good parts ― the rest of the story only capitalizes on post-9/11 paranoia to achieve a sense of current relevance.
In the end, it is still Craven's vigilante force delivering the justice to the bad guys, and to the patient viewers awaiting cinematic payoff. Even with original director Martin Campbell behind the camera, the enterprise feels flat. Craven barely has any time to establish his connection (or lack thereof) with his daughter before she's blown away in an incredibly contained shotgun blast, one of many plot holes and improbabilities in the film.
This is Gibson's contribution to the canon of '80s stars still trying to hold on to their glory years of action. The cold comfort is at least this is not another Lethal Weapon sequel. (Warner)