I saw this movie at an early screening and was delighted.
I give this movie three stars out of four, or 8 of ten points for great characters, intrigue, and some startling action scenes. It looses the 2 points because it does tend to slow down a little and become more dramatic at times but if you are a Mel Gibson fan you probably won't mind that at all. This movie reminded me a little of Taken, with a whole lot of Enemy of the State, and just a touch of Jason Bourne. Mel Gibson is engaging in his first acting role in years, although he definitely looks older now. It's hard to watch Gibson here without thinking of Martin Riggs in Lethal Weapon and there is some carryover but here Craven played by Gibson is the older, caring, Father who is also a cop although there is still some of of the craziness that made Mel so dynamic in a number of his roles. In some ways Mel reminded me here a little of Clint Eastwood in movies like Absolute Power and In the Line of Fire as the more mature protagonist who combines maturity and cunning with a fierce side that comes out in battle.
It's not giving anything away to say that the story is about Mel Gibson's character trying to find out who killed his daughter as that much is in the trailer. Mel plays a veteran detective and so has skills and resources we civilians don't. The movie takes a while to develop and takes great pains to show the love of Craven for his daughter in the opening scenes and then periodically remind us in flashbacks. There are a lot of characters which seem to be critical to building the intrigue of the movie; activists, defense contractors, government officials and various henchmen. The movie does a good job for a while of hiding who is working for whom. Suspense does build for most of the movie but a good bit before the end it is evident what is going on and the movie shifts from an action thriller to more of an pure action movie.
Ray Winstone plays an intriguing role as Jedburgh, deftly showing protagonist and antagonist sides at different times in a mysterious role. Danny Huston plays a multi-dimensional character, Jack Bennet, that is fun to watch. Bojana Novakovic as Emma Craven is a sweetheart. Jay O. Sanders plays a solid role as Detective Whitehouse.
The movie is definitely heavy on violence and acting independent of authority although I don't remember any swearing or sex scenes. Still it requires a mature audience as the hero's actions are probably not ones you want your kids emulating in your house. As with so many movies it portrays sides of business and government at their worst. So,since it is light on sexuality and vulgarity I would suggest that if you let your older kids go that you still discuss the extreme portrayals of the police, use of force, business and government.
It's good to see Mel back in action.