Actors’ Spotlight #62: Mel Gibson

A photograph of Mel Gibson, sporting a beard and wearing a suit with matching bow tie while focused in another angle, smiling.

Mel Gibson, AO, is an American actor, director, producer and screenwriter who made his acting debut on the Australian television drama series The Sullivans (1976–1983). While a student at the National Institute of Dramatic Art in Sydney, he was given an uncredited role in I Never Promised You a Rose Garden and subsequently appeared as a leading actor in the microbudget surf drama Summer City (both in 1977). Gibson became a part of the Australian New Wave cinema movement in the early 1980s having appeared in his breakthrough role in George Miller’s dystopian action Mad Max (1979), portraying the titular hero. He reprised the role in its sequels, Mad Max 2 (1981) and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985).[3][5] He appeared in Peter Weir’s war drama Gallipoli (1981) and the romantic drama The Year of Living Dangerously (1982). Five years later he played Martin Riggs in the buddy cop action comedy Lethal Weapon alongside Danny Glover—a role he later reprised in its sequels Lethal Weapon 2 (1989), Lethal Weapon 3 (1992), and Lethal Weapon 4 (1998).

Gibson starred in Franco Zeffirelli’s Hamlet in 1990, as the title character of William Shakespeare’s tragedy of the same name. It was the first film produced by Icon Productions, a production company he co-founded alongside Bruce Davey. Gibson’s directorial debut was The Man Without a Face (1993), an adaptation of Isabelle Holland’s novel of the same name. Two years later he directed and produced Braveheart, a historical epic drama in which he also portrayed Sir William Wallace, a 13th-century Scottish knight. The film earned him a Golden Globe Award for Best Director and the Academy Award for Best Director and Best Picture. Gibson went on to star in Ransom (1996), Payback (1999), What Women Want and The Patriot (both in 2000), and We Were Soldiers (2002).

Gibson directed, co-wrote and produced The Passion of the Christ in 2004, a Biblical epic drama which chronicled the Passion of Jesus. Upon its release, the film gained mixed reviews as well as notoriety for its graphic violence and alleged undertones of antisemitism from critics. Grossing $370.3 million in the United States and $611.4 million worldwide, the film remains the highest-grossing R-rated film of all time. Two years later he directed, co-wrote and produced Apocalypto, an epic adventure set in Central America depicting the final days of the Maya civilization before Spanish arrival in the 16th century. Gibson subsequently took a ten-year hiatus from directing during which time he landed roles in Edge of Darkness (2010), Machete Kills (2013), The Expendables 3 (2014), and Blood Father (2016). Gibson directed Hacksaw Ridge in 2016, a biographical war drama focusing on American World War II veteran Desmond Doss, the first conscientious objector to have received the Medal of Honor. The film received praise from critics and audiences alike, as well as several awards and nominations in a variety of categories.

Mel Gibson definitely is a hotly controversial entertainer, he can make great stuff that we remember for years and years but then he makes these stupid decisions in his personal life that makes us question him as a human being.

But regardless, the dude has put out great stuff, these are Mel Gibson at his 5 absolute best movies:

5. Edge Of Darkness

It’s a good action thriller, it’s well-directed and well-written and Mel Gibson, while I don’t see him having a comeback as big as Robert Downey Jr. or Woody Harrelson, proves here that he’s ready to clean up his image and refocus on getting his career back. At the same time, it has numerous simulations to Taken.

4. Braveheart

Mel Gibson’s big Oscar winner for Best Director as well as Best Picture and a classic epic action movie.

3. The Beaver

Kind of an underrated Mel Gibson movie directed by Jodie Foster.

2. Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior

The sequel to the original George Miller Mad Max series with a lot better action and memorable moments to it than its’ predecessor.

and the #1 best Mel Gibson movie is…

Lethal Weapon

The Lethal Weapon movies are great action comedies and Danny Glover & Mel Gibson both work really well off each other and the movies each have the benefit of realistic looking action scenes and great comedy thrown in with the action.

The Lethal Weapon movies are really entertaining and manage to keep the quality of each film in the later films but in terms of the rewatchabilitiy.

Now, let’s take a look at Gibson at his worst:

5. The Million Dollar Hotel

A forgettable Wim Wenders directorial effort from 2001 that also has Milla Jovovich in it…so, double whammy.

4. Conspiracy Theory

The most generic Richard Donner movie ever made, period.

3. Paparazzi

Could’ve easily had a great film looking at the problems with paparazzis but this is so blandly written and cliché riddled that it’s not enjoyable by any means.

2. The Expendables 3

The Expendables movies are those kinds of movies that you need to take for what they are. The first two movies are good fun silly over the top action movies, with the second film being the best of the two, especially with that awesome last action sequence.

However, expectations for this one were really low when this franchise of badass R rated action films…puts out a third film that’s rated PG-13. Weak…. According to Sylvester Stallone, he was aiming for a PG-13 rating because “he wanted the franchise to be reached out to a younger and broader audience. Yeah, because that worked well in the 80s when Rambo became a kids cartoon show.

I mean, that statement alone pretty much explains what’s wrong with this movie. The fact that this is being aimed at young audiences points out what’s wrong with this film, these movies are supposed to be aimed at people like us who grew up on the 80s and 90s action films these guys were in. This was not made to be aimed at the same target audiences of Twilight and The Hunger Games. I mean, what a hypocritical turn from one of the pioneer action stars of the 80s.

That’s not to say that this movie is bad but when you hear somebody who made a living off these types of action films of the 80s saying this, it’s hard to enjoy this without feeling a little gipped.

And the fact that this movie is PG-13 definitely hurts the film because instead of the spectacular action scenes very reminiscent of the 80s and 90s, we get the fakest looking action scenes ever with scenes of people getting shot at and baby powder flying out…no, I’m not joking, it literally looks like baby powder being splattered out. Plus, the action scenes use WAY too much CGI in this and it looks fake as hell.

However, the best parts of this film are actually the characters and the dialogue they have. I was enjoying more of the scenes of the characters just talking and doing things rather than watching them do these big action sequences. Both Stallone and Kelsey Grammer have some good moments on screen as do Jason Statham and Wesley Snipes. Antonio Banderas is very good in this as is Harrison Ford and Schwarzenegger. Even some of the new people are decent like Ronda Rousey, who only gets a few scenes to show off her fighting abilities when she’s a MMA fighter.

But the best new element to the film is easily Mel Gibson as the bad guy. Gibson just sinks his teeth into the role as the main bad guy of the film and he just has a ton of fun in the role and he’s easily the best villain this franchise has had.

The Expendables 3 is…not really bad, it’s just underwhelming and a lot of it is from that PG-13 rating. It didn’t need a PG-13 rating, these movies are made specifically for people who loved the R rated action films of the 80s and 90s starring these guys and they are not meant to be aimed at the same audience that’s going to watch something like Guardians Of The Galaxy or even Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It’s a waste of a movie that could’ve been something good if it had stuck to its’ plan that it had set up in the first movie, watching these badass action stars all together in one film kicking butt. Now though, it’s nothing but a joke. I liked very few things about this movie and I can easily tell you that this is not worth rushing out in theaters to see. An overall disappointment but it still has its’ moments.

and the #1 worst Mel Gibson movie is…

Signs

Speaking of things taking a huge downfall from this point on, allow me to present the movie that began the inevitable downfall of M. Night Shymalan. This whole movie just doesn’t work, storywise, actingwise, it just fails on all levels. The fact that these aliens are immune to water…and yet they are trying to take over a planet mostly covered by water…and can easily be defeated because they have trouble getting through a fucking door, these are some of the pussiest aliens ever put to screen. Who would ever be threaten by these things? Nobody.

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