THE MOTHER (NETFLIX) (2023)
SYNOPSIS: After years of hiding out in the Alaskan wilderness, a deadly assassin returns to rescue the daughter she loved from afar.
The Mother follows a familiar pattern whereby a parent figure (regardless of gender) tries their very best to protect or rescue a child from very bad people.
In one of her rare action oriented action roles, Jennifer Lopez plays the said mother, an ex-soldier who got herself embroiled with two unscrupulous weapon dealer and child traffickers, ex-SAS marine Adrian Lovell (Joseph Fiennes) and Hector Alvarez (Gael Garcia Bernal).
In order to ensure the safety of her newborn baby girl, Lopez’s character agrees to put her up for adoption. But 12 years later, the bad guys managed to somehow tracked down the now teenage Zoe (Lucy Paez). And now it’s up to FBI agent, Cruise (Omari Hardwick) and Zoe’s biological mother to save the day.
There’s apparently a lack of distinguishable factor between this and the many revenge thrillers out there with the plotting generally undercooked and characters remain mostly an enigma. There’s a brief scene that showcases the menacing Lovell and Alvarez in a meetup. Perhaps Zoe’s biological father is either one of those two. You never get a definite answer in the end though the mother seems to be romancing both of them throughout as well.
Even the narrative fails to properly establish the motives and crimes of the bad guys. Brief mentions of arms dealing and something about child trafficking, nobody knows exactly what they are doing except a prologue showing Lovell and his team taking out an entire team of FBI agents in a safe house. They must be highly-trained military professionals we guessed so everyone please watch out.
The pacing is acceptable for an action flick. Bear in mind, the second act which largely involves the mother teaching Zoe some survival skills in Alaska does slows down the affair by a bit. At 53, Lopez is convincing enough as a military sniper though the action choreography on the whole lacks imaginative and excitement to make it memorable.
Despite having director Niki Caro (Whale Rider, Mulan) at the helm, The Mother is a generic, forgettable action flick of the month. Aside from the obvious paper-thin characters, there’s also the supposedly mother-daughter’s story which fails to tug at the heartstrings. Still, it’s a star-studded affair. Lopez being one of those stars that can make an average flick watchable.
Review by Linus Tee