Mel Gibson's controversial new movie Force of Nature gets brutal first reviews

Dan Seddon
Photo credit: Lionsgate

From Digital Spy

Mel Gibson's new heist movie Force of Nature has been destroyed by critics in its first reviews.

Landing on digital platforms yesterday (June 30) due to the coronavirus pandemic, the film attracted criticism long before its release due to the dramatisation of Hurricane Maria, which killed approximately 4,645 people in 2017.

In it, Gibson portrays a character named Ray, who refuses to evacuate his apartment building during the storm, and is then forced to battle a gang of thieves who arrive on the scene.

Photo credit: Lionsgate

Related: Winona Ryder accuses Mel Gibson of making anti-Semitic and homophobic comments

Rolling Stone wrote in its review: "To say that a real-life tragedy deserves more respect than simply being exploited as a backdrop for a trivial B-movie about an art heist would be putting it mildly.

"The actors are helpless against a script that forces them to trade simpering backstories when they're not shooting to kill or making bad jokes."

The Hollywood Reporter noted: "While Gibson is the center of Lionsgate's marketing, he's very much a supporting player, phoning in a performance we've seen from him countless times before with better dialogue.

"Ray is a smug old goat we're meant to find amusingly irascible. Meh. This is not the movie that's going to get Gibson uncanceled.

"For all its sound and fury, Force of Nature is a wet mishmash of elements from better movies that leaves scarcely a ripple in its wake."

Photo credit: Lionsgate

Meanwhile, Slant Magazine labelled the movie a "man-made disaster". added: "Even a script written by algorithm would make more sense than Force of Nature, a dumb dud of a movie that relies on the most preposterous of coincidences and the most exhausted of premises (in both senses of the word).

"Given the devastating impact of the actual category 5 Hurricane Maria in 2017, using a storm like that as a peg for a heist movie is in questionable taste. But it doesn't stop there.

"The plot-by-bullet-point adds not only the personal redemption and realisations of various characters but also piles on racial profiling and the Holocaust, tossed in to add unearned heft to the confrontations and lessons learned."

Photo credit: Lionsgate

Related: Even Mel Gibson is "surprised" that he's been accepted back by Hollywood

AV Club went on to suggest: "Though vaguely aware of what's going on in the world today, Force of Nature is right on time to be out of touch. This is a story that asks its audience to believe things about American law enforcement that we know to be untrue."

Force of Nature, also starring Emile Hirsch and Kate Bosworth, is now available on digital platforms, DVD and Blu-ray.

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