Wednesday, June 14, 2023

Mother: Is This Netflix Movie Worth Watching?

Growing up I remember my father taking me to the movies to see Jacky Chan movies. This was where I first saw Cynthia Rothrock, who was probably the first female action hero I had seen in my life. These days, there are a lot of action roles for women in cinema and on TV. I recently discovered that Jennifer Lopez had taken on an action role on Netflix in the movie The Mother.

I’ve seen Jennifer Lopez in movies where she takes on action roles but for some reason, the trailer for this one had me expecting it to be on a larger scale than what she has previously done. However, it wasn’t as action-packed as I thought it would be.

In the movie, Jennifer plays the role of “The Mother,” an unnamed former military operative turned lover of an arms dealer and an arms smuggler. She became an FBI informant after she discovers that not only was she pregnant, but that her lovers were also involved in child trafficking. 

As expected, her former lovers go after her to prevent her from talking to the FBI, killing almost all the agents in her safehouse and stabbing her pregnant belly, leading her to prematurely give birth at the hospital. While there, she is forced to give up her child to keep her safe as she runs away to hide in a cabin in Alaska, away from the people who are after her. 

The movie then revolves around her lovers trying to get even with her for being an informant by finding and kidnapping her daughter and going after her in Alaska. I think it goes without saying that of course, The Mother succeeds in taking down all her enemies in some unrealistic superhero-ish stroke of luck.

I wanted to like this movie, but I felt that even if there was a plot to it, there really wasn’t much to the story except for her running from these criminals and them going after her until their final showdown at the end of the film. It would have been OK if there was a lot of action but after seeing a lot of female-driven action films recently (Charlize Theron in Old Guard comes to mind), I don’t think this was anything new – or better – than other movies I’ve seen. The action sequences were not as exciting as I would have wanted. I felt they were more dramatic than the adrenaline-pumping scenes I thought they would be.

I love Jennifer Lopez, but this is not the good movie that she probably expected it to be. Plus, it was a film that made me think even more of another Jennifer, her now-husband Ben Affleck’s ex-wife Jennifer Garner, who probably did a better job with her movie Peppermint. I’m not saying it’s a better movie but as far as action sequences go, I think the former Mrs. Affleck had a better movie compared to the current Mrs. Affleck. 

The saving grace that this movie had was just being able to get credible actors like Joseph Fiennes and Gael Garcia Bernal. If they did not have good actors as the bad guys, I don’t think I would have survived watching this movie. The actors in this movie deserved better than the material they had to work with for this movie. They were in the movie as the bad guys, but apart from a few short scenes showing they were in a relationship with her and then jumping to the scenes wanting her dead, there was nothing much to learn about them. They were just elements in the movie to give Jennifer Lopez something to do and to have someone to go against.

Other supporting characters in the movie felt forced for the sake of driving the plot forward. The role of the friend in Alaska was never really explained. He was just put there so that there was someone who could help her while she was in hiding. The same goes for the FBI agent whose life she saved. There was a little hint of a spark between them but again, he was just a tool that was used to link her to her daughter.

Was the movie bad? No, I can’t say that it was a complete dud. Is it something I’d watch again? Probably not. I love Jennifer Lopez, but this movie is definitely one of those films I never want to see again.


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