Short version: Edge of Darkness is more detective story than action-packed Taken knock-off, but if you miss Mel Gibson on the big screen it’s worth checking out.

Screen Rant reviews Edge of Darkness

I guess the first thing some people will need to decide is whether they are still a Mel Gibson fan. If you separate the on screen persona from the off screen and have been missing Mel acting in a film, then your wait is finally over. The last film of note that he appeared in was eight years ago in Shyamalan’s Signs.

In Edge of Darkness Gibson plays Boston Detective Tom Craven – he gets a visit from his daughter Emma (Bojana Novakovic, who looks like a cross between a young Jodie Foster and Bridget Fonda). It’s been a while since they’ve seen each other but the father-daughter connection is established quickly and effectively within a few minutes. She has some sort of high security level job as an intern and that’s all we’re told early on.

She’s not feeling well and we get the idea that she is seriously ill, but she never makes it to the doctor as she is gunned down on her father’s front porch by a drive by killer who shouts “Craven!” from a black SUV. The assumption is that Tom was the target and the killer just missed.

Although his superior suggests a leave of absence, Tom has no intention of taking one. When told he can’t be involved in the investigation he says very seriously that he has no intention of arresting anyone. His search takes him to yet another evil corporation that is involved in top secret work for the government. He meets Emma’s creepy boss (played with requisite creepiness by Danny Huston) who is not too forthcoming with information. How creepy is he? He asks Toms how it feels to have lost his daughter.

Also in the picture is a black ops fellow (Ray Winstone) who while he works for the government and/or the corporation seems to want to help Tom with his quest to track down the truth behind his daughter’s death. He plays it effectively grey, ambiguous and “I might kill you” scary.

As the film moves on, it’s more of a detective story as Tom unravels the clues as we sit by and watch. Oh, there’s some action but it’s nothing compared to the film most people are expecting this to emulate: Taken. Personally, I enjoyed seeing Mel back on the big screen (although his Boston accent was a bit disconcerting). It’s a slower film than you might expect, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

What IS bad? Well there was one “witness” who was killed in a manner in which the exact timing and ability to predict the short term future required strains credulity to… well, infinity. But hey, that’s one little thing – the big thing is the whole reason for all the secrecy and the need to kill people in the film. Frankly, when it was revealed I almost laughed out loud because it was so ludicrous. Of course depending on what side of the aisle you sit or if you’re a conspiracy fan it might not bother you at all.

Those items notwithstanding Edge of Darkness was an interesting, enjoyable film that didn’t feel the need to throw an action sequence at you every five minutes.

Our Rating:

3.5 out of 5
(Very Good)