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‘The Mother’ Review: Jennifer Lopez in Niki Caro’s Pleasantly Wacky Netflix Action Thriller


Make no mistake, the title character is pleasantly ridiculous The mother doesn’t get a name, but there’s no doubt she’s Jennifer Lopez. From the runway-ready fur hoodie she wears in the Alaskan wilderness to the flawless eye makeup and dewy complexion that endure everything from childbirth to a knife fight in the snowy woods, this is a performance so full of is stuck with celebrity baggage that it will never be complete. convincing as a deadly assassin. Still, of course, JLo is the main reason to watch Niki Caro’s action thriller for Netflix, which is better than average as star-driven streaming features go.

The New Zealand Caro had bad luck with her live-action Mulan remake, when its 2020 theatrical release was delayed and ultimately scuttled by the pandemic, leaving the epic’s spectacular visuals on Disney+ to be desired. This latest feature film from the director who broke up with in 2002 Whale Rider is the kind of thriller that was a mid-budget studio staple until about a decade ago. It now seems well suited to streaming and generates enough suspense and character involvement to be more than background noise.

The mother

It comes down to

Elevated trash can.

Date of publication: Friday, May 12
Form: Jennifer Lopez, Joseph Fiennes, Lucy Paez, Omari Hardwick, Paul Raci, Gael Garcia Bernal
Director: Niki Caro
Screenwriters: Misha Green, Andrea Berloff, Peter Craig

Rated R, 1 hour 57 minutes

Lopez is in intense, stoic tough mode as an armed forces veteran whose amazing sniper skills made her the best in her platoon, with 46 confirmed kills during back-to-back tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. We learn this through Edie Falco, in a cameo as an FBI special agent who helpfully recapitulates the main character’s military history for her – but really for us.

A prologue at an FBI safehouse in Indiana has “the mother” still in her expectant phase, warning her interrogators that she is not safe, just in time for a hail of bullets. She manages to rescue the best of the two cops, William Cruise (Omari Hardwick), before facing off against her arms dealer and former lover, Adrian Lovell (Joseph Fiennes), who stabs her in her pregnant belly for a hastily rigged explosive device. . device sends him up in flames. That makes Adrian an angry guy with a melted pizza face for the rest of the movie.

The limited job opportunities that awaited the protagonist after his military service helped lure her into criminal activity, first with Adrian and then with his equally shady associate Hector Alvarez (Gael García Bernal), with whom she also had a relationship. Her pivot in becoming an FBI informant was not well received by either of them.

When her baby miraculously survives the opening attack, the mother is vividly informed that the only way to protect the girl from the continued pursuit of the pair of killers is to terminate parental rights and give the child a new identity and a new family. to give. . She reluctantly agrees and takes a promise out of Cruise’s debt to give the child “the most boring, stable life there is” and send a picture every year on the girl’s birthday.

Twelve years after the protagonist retreats to a remote Alaskan cabin, she is summoned by Cruise back to Cincinnati, where her daughter Zoe (Lucy Paez) lives a comfortable life with her parents. When Hector’s top lieutenants descend on a playground, the mother manages to take most of them out with an assault rifle, but Zoe is nevertheless snatched and dragged to Cuba by a creep who is handily identified by the tattoo on his neck as ” The Tarantula” (Jesse Garcia).

The change of scenery (locations in the Canary Islands replace Havana) lets some color and light into the film, a welcome shift given how bleak and noirish everything is up to then – even if it’s a hospital ward or a kid’s room combed by Federal agents.

There’s also a feverish chase through the streets and rooftops of the old town that makes good use of DP Ben Seresin’s action references and the skills Caro honed during elaborately choreographed combat sequences in Mulan. In a funny way, they crash into a wedding party, where the bridal bouquet and the Tarantula fly at the same time.

A hint of potential romance with Cruise creeps into the story, along with another major exposition dump. But it’s not long before the Mother confronts her former subordinate Hector in his heavily guarded castle. Like all regulatory Latino villains, disheveled Hector prefers living quarters filled with burning candles, so you can guess how that turns out.

Meanwhile, questions about Zoe’s father linger. But the girl’s instincts are sharp enough to make her realize who her birth mother is once they get back to Ohio. Of course, that doesn’t go to plan, leaving the mother with no choice but to rush Zoe to Alaska for her safety, which inevitably leads to a gruesome showdown in the last act, with bad guys whizzing across the landscape on snowmobiles.

Caro drives the star vehicle more than proficiently, even if she takes Misha Green, Andrea Berloff and Peter Craig’s silly script a little too seriously, keeping the atmosphere dark and foreboding by playing trippy tracks from artists like Massive Attack, Portishead and Grimes. sprinkle. The mother’s path to crime is explained too sketchily to be believable and her eventual reveal of the beating heart beneath her hardened armor should surprise no one. Likewise, the expediency and efficiency of her training to equip Zoe with handy survival skills. A wary kinship between the mother and a majestic wolf, ferociously protective of her pups, strikes like a symbolic anvil.

Of course, no one takes all of this more seriously than Lopez, who cooks and smolders and exudes a tough, tough attitude in a way that her fans will adore. This mom is a good hand with guns, knives, homemade explosives, fists and feet, but blissfully she never gives up her bona fide glamour, even when she splits her head open on a rock and lets her hair get a little ragged. A gratuitous butt shot, cast in a form-fitting dress on a dance floor with Fiennes’ Adrian, screams, “Yeah, not bad for 53, amiright?”

Still, I take this JLo as “no one fucks me or my daughter” killing machine, discovering her long-hidden maternal instincts, over those grim generic rom-coms she pulls off once a year, which might as well be direct. movies on board. This action detour is at least an improvement on the roar from 2015, Lila & Evein which she and Viola Davis teamed up as vigilante moms.

There are other people inside The mother, but this project from Lopez’s Nuyorican Productions banner is so diligently molded around its leading lady that they hardly matter. Paez, in her first major role, makes a favorable impression, increasing Caro’s interest in women taking control of their own destiny. Even Zoe’s adoptive mother (Yvonne Senat Jones) does the talking, her husband relegated to the sidelines.

The boys, both good and bad, get the job done, but are mostly swept up in the wake of the star, with particularly underused Bernal and Paul Raci as the mother’s old military friend, who keep an eye on her in Alaska . No one seems to have missed the memo that this is The JLo Show.

Although there could be an argument for it hustlers as the rare recent exception, the days of Selena, Out of sight even Anacondabefore the star persona was fully taken over and Lopez could still settle into a real persona, are long gone, for better or for worse.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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