- Jan 9, 2018
And it looks hella frickin lit fam
There’s arguably nothing the world needs less right now than Force of Nature, a movie starring Mel Gibson and Emile Hirsch as trigger-happy cops with violent pasts and take-no-prisoners attitudes who are tasked with rescuing a Black man, a rookie Latina officer, and a Nazi descendant (and his stolen artwork) from evil Puerto Rican villains during a Category 5 hurricane in San Juan. What would be tasteless retrograde nonsense at any other time resounds during this particular moment in U.S. history as almost cataclysmically tone-deaf and insulting, turning director Michael Polish’s thriller (on VOD June 30) into the year’s most misbegotten venture.
Force of Nature is a fantasy about misogynistic Caucasian cops (Ray “doesn’t exactly respond to female authority,” Pena quickly learns) with a predilection for using supposedly justifiable extreme force. That alone makes it an objectionable genre exercise. Yet on the heels of 2017’s Hurricane Maria tragedy, the material’s exploitation of a fictional Puerto Rican hurricane for cheap and contrived white-savior thrills pushes it into the realm of ugliness. Considering that state of affairs, the narrative’s subsequent rancid turns aren’t surprising. For example, Griffin confesses that he moved to Puerto Rico after winning a financial settlement against the NYPD for unjust harassment, bought a voracious pet (kept behind locked doors) that he’s trained to attack cops, and now feels guilty for taking that “blood money” in the first place. The suggestion, it’s clear, is that Black Americans know that police brutality is fake, and that any compensation for it is thus unearned.