Bad Boy Blues

Stars: Mel Gibson, Walton Goggins, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Chance Hurstfield, Susanne Sutchy, Robert Bockstael, Michael Dyson, Deborah Grover, Ellison Grier Butler, Eric Woolfe
Directors and Scriptwriters: Eshom Nelms and Ian Nelms
Composer: Mondo Boys
Cinematography: Johnny Derango
Mammoth Entertainment/Saban Films
Rating: R for violence and themed material
Running Length: 100 Minutes 

Humor is tossed in the air and lands on a sharp edge. Put your preconceptions of Santa Claus and Christmas aside and enter the 21st century. Be aware of “Fatman.” This is not a holiday family film and the Santa Claus (here Chris Cringle) depicted by Mel Gibson would turn your hair white. There is also a hit man (Walter Goggins) called Skinny Man, and you can see where this film is headed.  As written and directed by Eshom Nelms and Ian Nelms, the holidays just ain’t what they used to be. 

The storyline by Eshom Nelms and Ian Nelms has Mel Gibson as Chris Cringle and his wife, Ruth, well played by Marianne Jean-Baptiste. This is the modern age and times have been tough for Chris. Toys are not going as well as they should, and money is tight, so when the government approaches Chris about turning his place into a weapons factory, he does it. Money is money, and those checks come in on a regular basis. The elves go from children’s toys to things that go “boom.”  However, there is always a fly in the ointment. At Christmas, one spoiled wealthy child, Billy (Chance Hurstfield) gets a lump of black coal for a present.  He hasn’t been the best behaved of children. Billy decides to get even with Chris and hires a hitman (Walton Goggins from television’s “The Unicorn”) who is aptly named “Skinny Man.”  He has his own issues with Santa.  Before you know it, the bullets are flying and Skinny Man even has time to kidnap a girl (Ellison Grier Butler) from Billy’s school class who won a science contest…and Billy didn’t. This kid has problems. There is unexpected violence here. All this going on with snow and ice and  reminiscent of the film,  “Fargo,” where the unexpected was just around the corner. 

Mel Gibson is sloppily dressed as Chris, and with the shaggy beard looks like a lumberjack. Ruth, on the other hand, is calm, understanding and keeps the peace. Walton Scoggins, and this part is a right-angle turn from his role as the widower on television’s “Unicorn,” is the hitman who will take money from a kid for a target.  Chance Hurstfield, as Billy, does the spoiled rich kid just right. He rules the mansion when parents are elsewhere. The rest of the cast is there, and do well in their parts and set the background between Chris, Ruth, Billy  and Skinny Man.  Having Chris get his checks by mail, the elves changing from toys to weapons and a hitman who is still mad about not getting favorite presents years ago, and then hired by a kid who got a lump of coal this year---well, what a plot.  

Not a family film and not your typical Christmas film, yet, each year, there comes something new and on the darker side to go along with the boy-meets-girl sweetness of current holiday films.  So here comes, “Fatman,” and you will either love it or leave it. The Santa Claus of long ago is now modernized with weapons and the economy isn’t helping either. This is 2020 and what will 2030 have? Chris Cringle using a left-over space shuttle?  Just sayin…. 


Copyright 2020 Marie Asner