Edge of Darkness

January 01, 1970

(Warner Home Video, 128 minutes)

 

http://edge-of-darkness.warnerbros.com

 

BY CHRIS ZIMMERMAN

 

When Mel Gibson as hardened cop Thomas Craven utters the
words “I’ve got nothing left to lose,” he couldn’t have been more on point.
After an eight year hiatus from a starring role in films, Gibson had something
to prove Hollywood
and himself. Despite achieving critical success from the Passion of the Christ, Gibson made more headlines when his
marriage disintegrated.  Compounding
matters further, with so many young stars and starlets on the rise, the once
dominant actor was is in the unenviable position of proving that he still has
what it takes to bring in the big bucks at the box office.

 

This perhaps explains why Edge of Darkness, a remake of a classic BBC series, strays from its
quasi sci-fi roots and devolves into a simple revenge tale. In many ways it’s a
smart move, as many of the ideas presented in the 1985 series would come off as
hokey and confusing to today’s cinema goers. Gibson needed a role that allowed
him to put a bit of himself into the role, for better or for worse because
let’s face it; if you’ve followed the news in the last eight years, you know
that no one goes postal quite like Mel Gibson.

 

Staring as Thomas Craven, Gibson assumes the role once
helmed by Bob Peck, a grizzled cop out for revenge against the men behind his
daughter’s murder. While there is some conspiracy to be had, the film reveals
the people responsible rather early, leaving Gibson to go through the motions
of reaffirming himself as an action star. While the original tended to lean
more toward the inner workings of the government, filling each episode with
political intrigue, the remake discards all that in favor of shoot outs and
brutal brawls.

 

In truth, where Edge
of Darkness
lacks in story, Gibson more than makes up for it in his
performance. Every scene he’s in, his agony is palpable as he homicidally blows
through one suspect to another in his personal vendetta to avenge his daughter.
Of course this means more emphasis on blood and action but there are enough
heartfelt sequences of Craven reminiscing on happier times with his daughter
peppered throughout to give the audience a breather in between kills.

 

Whether Edge of
Darkness
provides Gibson the vehicle needed to get back on track is still
up in the air. Depending on who you ask, the answer varies. In any case, it
can’t be denied that this is a return to form for the actor as he proves he’s
still got the chops to be a leading man if Hollywood will let him.

 

 

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