There are two indications of trouble in this trailer for Martin Campbell‘s Edge of Darkness (Warner Bros., 1.29.10). One is the way-too-blissful smile Mel Gibson wears as he hugs his grown-up daughter and says, “Let’s go home.” I know all about grown-children dad hugs and you never smile like that unless you’re an idiot — you keep it tucked inside and project an air of mild serenity.
The other problem is that Gibson takes his eyes off the road twice — twice! — in the middle of a heavy rainstorm in order to look at his daughter, who’s riding shotgun. The HE rule is that any time an actor tries for occasional for eye contact with a passenger instead of watching the road, you’re watching, at best, a mediocre film and possibly a mildly bad one. So that’s it — game over. Too much emotion and bad driving.
Edge of Darkness might be a decent, kick-ass revenge movie, but it looks rote in a Taken sort of way. I don’t watching older guys getting all outraged and tearful and consumed with the thought of bringing those responsible to justice or killing them, blah blah. The best film in this vein in the last several years was Man on Fire because it was cool-and-dry Denzel doing the thing.