Director: Michael Polish
Cast: Mel Gibson, Emile Hirsch, Kate Bosworth, David Zayas, Stephanie Cayo
Runtime: 1 hr 31 mins
Rating: NC16 (Coarse Language and Some Violence)
Released By: Shaw Organisation
Opening Day: 30 July 2020
Synopsis: Fighting nature, greed, and the sweeping power of the past, two police officers find themselves in the eye of a dangerous storm in the action-drama FORCE OF NATURE. As a once-in-a-generation hurricane threatens Puerto Rico, a police officer (EMILE HIRSCH) trying to recover from a tragedy in New York, goes on evac duty with a new partner (STEFANIE CAYO). At an apartment complex, they arrive as a dangerous criminal called John the Baptist (DAVIDZAYAS) begins blasting bodies to get to a trove of priceless art. But when a cranky ex-cop (Oscar winner MEL GIBSON) and his daughter (KATE BOSWORTH) reluctantly enter the fray, the police find themselves ascending the building to maintain the high ground in a concrete death trap. As floodwaters rise, nothing but firepower and fierceness can survive this FORCE OF NATURE.
For a start, I still can’t tell the difference between Kate Bosworth and Rachel McAdams at times. Okay one is an American and the other one is a Canadian. The former was in the ill-fated Superman Returns and the latter known for romancing Ryan Gosling in The Notebook. Never mind the blabbering but Bosworth stars in this action thriller that is directed by her real-life hubby, Michael Polish who normally makes indie films.
Other than Bosworth and Polish involvement, former A-lister actor and director Mel Gibson also has a starring role together with once promising young star turned troubled actor, Emile Hirsh (Into the Wild, Speed Racer).
Force of Nature is set in Puerto Rico amidst a category 5 hurricane where a gang of thieves led by their trigger happy leader, John (David Zayas) is out to steal valuable paintings from an apartment building. Rookie police officer Jess (Stephanie Cayo) and her suicidal depressed partner Cardillo (Hirsch) are assigned to evacuate the few remaining tenants from the building including a sick retired cop, Ray (Gibson) and a stubborn old man. At the same time, Ray’s daughter, Troy (Bosworth) is trying hard to persuade her father to check in to a hospital. But before any evacuation happens, the group of them needs to first team up to fight against John and his well-armed henchmen.
Honestly, if you handover a movie liked Force of Nature to an experienced HK action filmmaker or the guys behind The Raid, you are probably going to have a wild night of fun watching asses being kicked hard and people being blown off. The production companies might even save up half of the US$23 million budget for another flick. Unfortunately, what you have in the end is ninety minutes of boring generic shoot-em-up and absurd uninspiring flashback and narrative for the main characters. Even a supposedly attack by a wild cat happened off-screen. They can’t really afford a CGI animal it seems.
Did we also mentioned it’s from the same backers behind VOD releases that frequently starred Bruce Willis, Nicolas Cage and Josh Duhamel. Well, a grizzled Mel Gibson finally joined the club and he is having a scene-stealing time as an ex-tough cop although expectedly he doesn’t last "long" enough to watch the rolling credits. Of course, Kate Bosworth tried her best to match her hubby’s expectations but we are sure her performance is not going to spice up her career anytime soon. Hirsch on the other hand is miscast as the cop who has a tragic past while newcomer Stephanie Cayo is perfectly serviceable in her debut.
This is genuinely a B movie that fared much worse than the more than two decades old Hard Rain and even the recent, Rob Cohen’s The Hurricane Heist. The torrential downpour adds nothing to the story, the fistfights are dull and there’s too little Mel Gibson. At least we caught this so that you can proceed to catch something else. Move on, people. Nothing much to see here.
(The Force of Nature here belongs to Mel Gibson, too bad he came and went away too soon)
Review by Linus Tee