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Plot Overview


birthday partyLegendary hacker Orlando Friar (Kevin Dillon) accepted a too-good-to-be-true offer from a business con­glom­erate to spy on their rivals but they used him to set up a sham company to fleece the little guy. He turned state's evidence in exchange for leniency but never­the­less acquired a record. He moved with his family to New Mexico where he mans a help line for WeSaveYouIT. Not liking the smaller pay­checks, he accepts work at Christmas for the holiday pay. That doesn't set well with his long­suf­fering wife Kimberly (Lydia Hull) who'd arranged a birth­day party said day for their adolescent daughter Zoey (Anna Harr,) itself “basically a holiday” by family tradition.

girl on computerKaboom!Daniel's accusers fed to lionsA Delta Force officer from a bygone era returned from Nam to invest his life savings in the above mentioned sham company. When he lost every­thing he blew his brains out. That drove his younger brother around the bend who learned hacking to destroy the bankers responsible for the tragedy. He's not good enough to succeed on his own, so he's become a mad bomber rigging Orlando's desk chair with a pressure sensitive dead man's switch connected to explosives. He is forcing the better hacker to do the computer infiltration for him.

lit up treeold men playing chessManning the bomb squad desk this quiet day are an old hand, Officer Wallace Reed (Mel Gibson) and a rookie, “Action” Jackson (Eddie Steeples.) The impression we're given is new trans­fers don't last long in the bomb squad for some reason, and we suspect that particular sobriquet of his does not bode well for jobs requiring a delicate touch.


Merry Christmas

decorated treebirthday partyIt is unfortunate for Zoey that her birthday falls right before Christmas and her dad's work required he be in the office that day, but it couldn't be helped. They'd established the family holiday when dad's work schedule was much more flexible, but the road they're on now demands he fill in at the office this time of year. It's as remarked in a Peter Marshall sermon on Falling Rocks:

Now this is a hazard of driving along these highways that no precautions can avoid. Your rate of speed has nothing to do with it … nor the way you handle your car nor the condition of your tires. It makes no difference whether you are a good driver or a bad driver, the hazard is there and there is nothing you can do about it. It is typical of those troubles in life which no caution can avoid, and which have nothing to do with one's conduct, be it good or bad. (161)

man on phoneChristmas bellsOfficer Reed had the same problem having to work the holidays, but he and his wife were more mature about it. He calls her from work to croon Christmas carols over the phone and then suggests, “Vacation sounds good; retire­ment sounds better.” She proposes Europe. He's old school and for him the month between New Year's and Ground­hog Day is wide open to make up for any­thing skipped over at Xmas. It's the principle of, (Eccl. 11:2) “Give a portion to seven, and also to eight; for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the earth.” He did all his work duty, and he can capitalize on the convenient gap in holidays after­ward for what was neglected.

This principle is illustrated in spades when Orlando strapped to his work station has all he can do to keep up with the demands (“portion to seven”) of his captor and it still isn't enough, so he uses as a gofer (“and also to eight”) Ava Adam­son (Kate Katzman) girl­friend of absent co-worker Enzo (Michael Welch) who stumbled in looking for him.

Lincoln's faceMartin Luther King Jr.The intrusive holidays start in a rush at Thanksgiving, adding in Hanukkah, winter solstice, Kwanza, and topping them off at New Year. Now add Zoey's birthday lost in the shuffle. Want to make it up the next month? Now we've got all these new holidays filling in. Some déclassé Southern states celebrate Robert E. Lee Day the third Monday in January, and the damn Yankees have added Martin Luther King Jr's birthday observance the same day. Curiously, since Lee married the step-great-grand­daughter of George Washington, Robert E. Lee Day is also the birthday of the father of our country's step-great-grand­son-in-law. pencil in handFurther­more, since the death of Vladimir Lenin is—or was—observed on January 21, add MLK's communist connection to the mix. As Zoey's birthday party was attended by only one adult (her mom,) other minor holidays are fair game for competition.

Production Values

woman teacher” (2022) was directed by James Cullen Bressack. It was based on a story by Leon Lang­ford and Collin Watts. It stars Mel Gibson, Shannen Doherty and Kevin Dillon. Other cast members include Michael Welch, Sam Asghari, and Eddie Steeples. Gibson can make up for a lot of tire­some efforts of the others. Dillon seems to have bitten off more than he could chew. Doherty as police chief looks pretty with a pixie style cut, but her gum chewing and lack of lipstick—or any other makeup—gives her a man­nish demeanor as she chews over her tough options, which won't visually appeal to the male audience. Though some men do like strong women, apparently there weren't any this chick has found in this movie. Eddie Steeples playing black, “Action” Jackson reminds one of activist MLK who to get results rejected pleas for “gradualism” in favor of the “fierce urgency of NOW.” Jackson was like­wise hasty with his chess moves and bomb disarming, some tries being more conse­quential than others. The unseen voice of the perp on the wall speaker puts one in mind of General Robert E. Lee a consummate military tactician who was down­right cruel and harsh to his troops, not minding excessive attrition. A quickly eliminated coworker Enzo played by Michael Welch was quite the ladies man, reminiscent of MLK who was well known for his rampant adultery.

RUSHMPAA rated it R for language through­out and some violence. The blood was a glistening red so as not to be confused with Christmasy red. The audio from the dinky speaker on the wall was too high fidelity for the medium and the voice not disguised all that well. It was filmed over seven days in Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA. The pacing was problematic. It had to be fast to satisfy audience expectations, but in real life chess, hacking, extortion, bomb handling, growing up, race resolutions, and working out marital difficulties all take time.

Review Conclusion w/a Christian's Recommendation

I like all kinds of movies, so it doesn't take much to please me, and this one sure fit the bill. It was interesting but in my experience chess games do not move that fast, although it was a good precursor for putting Action Jackson (“Are you sure you want to do that?”) out of action. It's clever in places but mostly lame. See it if you're a die­hard Mel Gibson fan; other­wise there's not enough to recommend it.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Well done action flick. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Average special effects. Video Occasion: Good for a Rainy Day. Suspense: Keeps you on the edge of your seat. Overall movie rating: Three stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture is quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Lions den picture is copyright © Sweet Publishing. Licensed by FreeBibleimages. Creative
Commons License This picture is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Marshall, Catherine. Sermons and prayers of Peter Marshall. Mr. Jones, Meet the Master. Copyright 1949, 1950 by Fleming H. Revell Company. New York: Fleming H. Revell Company, 37th printing. Print.