Directed by Martin Campbell
I ended up enjoying this film more than I thought I would. Campbell proved that he knows how to handle the slow brewing and introspective action film when he brought Bond into the 21st Century so fantastically with “Casino Royale”. He doesn’t quite hit it out of the park with this one as he did back then, but it’s still an entertaining and watchable film. It’s also interesting to watch this film with the understanding that Campbell was the man who directed the original British television mini-series. Very few film directors ever get the chance to go back and re-envision previous pieces of work, but it often leads to interesting dichotomies… even if the second time around is seldom better than the first. (Which I am only assuming is the case with this one, having never seen the original.)
Gibson is also his typical star-studded self. For a man who hasn’t really acted in nearly a decade, he shows no sign of rust. Say and believe what you will about the man’s personal life, but Mel Gibson is a star, one of the rare ones that only come around once and a while. This is far from one of his most memorable roles, but he stills create a sense of resonance and connection with the audience that so few other actors are capable of, especially in a role that would not “jump off the page fully formed” so to speak.
The only real drawback that the film has is in its subject matter. I don’t really want to spoil what that is, because even the trailers do a pretty good job at not letting you know what the story is really about, but to suffice to say, this story would have resonated more back in the 80’s when the original was written and simply serves as a needlessly complex and (best case scenario) redundant idea for a modern day film at times.
Oh and also, this film has some of the most violent death by gunshot wounds I have ever seen. Especially the one in opening minutes.