- 09 Jan - 15 Jan, 2021
Force of Nature
- 18 Jul - 24 Jul, 2020
A category five hurricane is the least of the perils confronting characters in Force of Nature. Set in Puerto Rico during such a tempest, this diverting thriller from director Michael Polish has Emile Hirsch as a cop protecting various apartment building residents (including Kate Bosworth and Mel Gibson) from a murderous gang of thieves. None of this is particularly credible, let alone memorable, but it’s all executed with sufficient energy and humour to make for an enjoyable night’s entertainment.
After a short prelude showing Gibson’s ex-cop character taking a tricky shot during a torrential downpour, we rewind eight hours to clear blue skies, as reports warn of an imminent conflagration in which flash floods, mudslides and winds up to 140 are anticipated.
San Juan police have orders to forcibly evacuate any holdouts in vulnerable areas, for which purpose suicidal ex-NYPD veteran Cardillo (Hirsch) and eager-for-action rookie Pena (Stephanie Cayo) get paired. They wind up taking custody of a Black man (Will Catlett’s Griffin) caught in an altercation trying to buy 100 lbs. of meat amidst panicked buying at a supermarket. When he tells them he needs to feed his “pet,” and that there are also a couple old men who refuse to leave their flats, the officers agree to stop at his apartment complex.
There, they find just what Griffin had promised, more or less: A not-remotely-domesticated carnivore kept behind a heavily barred door; an elderly gent (Jorge Luis Ramos’ Bergkamp) behind his own suspiciously high-security barriers; and Ray (Gibson), a retired mainland cop in ornery good spirits but poor health.
Getting all these resistant folk out to safety, as the storm is now fully lashing out, would be difficult enough. But it gets a lot trickier once John (David Zayas) and his henchmen show up, fresh from having killed two people during a bank job. They’re a brutish lot who’ve pulled off several high-end heists in recent weeks. Their current shopping list won’t be complete without acquiring valuable items they’re convinced one of the local residents has squirreled away.
When Cardillo witnesses them blasting away the building’s unlucky super, he quickly susses what the good guys are up against: a half-dozen well-armed killers.
For all its sound and fury, Force of Nature is a wet mishmash of elements from better movies that leaves scarcely a ripple in its wake.