Edge of Darkness

Year: 2010
Studio: Warner Bros
Director: Martin Campbell
Writer: William Monahan/Andrew Bovell
Cast: Mel Gibson, Ray Winstone, Danny Huston, Bojana Navakovic

This is the first time we've seen Mel Gibson in front of the camera since 2003's The Singing Detective, and he's craggier and angrier looking than ever. And with director Martin Campbell the man behind the last two Bond films, the signs were all good.

It's hard to pinpoint what went wrong. It's a good idea with a jackhammer opening as detective Tom Craven (Gibson) is reconnecting with his daughter Emma (Navakovic) before a gunman drives past the front door of the house and blows her away.

Craven was taking her to hospital after she was overcome with some mysterious sickness, and he goes on the trail of her killer, overturning a conspiracy involving a powerful corporation with military contracts who's involved with nuclear weapon research Emma and her friends were trying to expose.

The blue collar Boston accent by Gibson is just ridiculous, and Danny Huston as the slimy contractor CEO is comically stiff and unyielding. The acting's terrible, the script's ropey, the action's telegraphed a mile away and you know just who the good guys and bad guys are as soon as you lay eyes on them.

A clandestine cockney secret agent (Winstone) thrown in seems to have broadsided in from another movie, and even after many of his scenes you'll have no idea what he's doing there.

Adapted from the TV series Campbell directed on British screens, maybe somebody wanted too many of their favourite aspects retained and in a feature length running time they just don't make sense together. On the big screen - with liberal doses of shocking violence that doesn't suit the TV roots - it just doesn't work.

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