Mel Gibson achieves a rare double-double in the violent and wildly implausible and unintentionally funny thriller “Dangerous,” as he turns in what might well be the most terrible performance of his 70+ career screen roles — and he’s playing one of the most incompetent therapists in the history of the motion picture.
It’s a supporting performance conducted mostly in a vacuum, yet Gibson steals the movie in the worst way.
Lionsgate presents a film directed by David Hackl and written by Christopher Borrelli. Rated R (for violence and language). Running time: 99 minutes. Opens Friday at Cinema Chatham 14 and on demand.
“Dangerous” stars Scott Eastwood (a terrific actor who is looking more and more like his father Clint onscreen) as one Dylan “D” Forrester, a sociopathic serial killer who for some reason has been paroled and has beaten a man nearly to death, cut off his ankle monitor and escaped into the mist, much to the chagrin of Famke Janssen’s FBI Special Agent Shaughnessy. She travels to “CLEVELAND, OHIO,” as the graphics tell us, to pay a visit to D’s longtime therapist, the weird and bearded Dr. Alderwood (Gibson), who greets Shaughnessy by peering at her credentials and cracking wise about her “small badge,” and then says, “Special Agent, do you feel special?” Huh?
When Shaughnessy tells Dr. Alderwood that D has broken parole and is wanted for attempted murder after torturing a man, beating him into a coma and leaving him hanging in his bathroom, Alderwood says, “D and I have been working together, to help him put his past behind him … this doesn’t seem like the kind of thing he would do” and continues, “D has paid his debt to society. Between aversion therapy and my behavioral modification techniques, he’s got a full bag of tools to reintegrate into society, live a relatively normal life.”
Doc! YOU’RE NOT LISTENING.
Save for that one confounding scene with Janssen, for the rest of the movie Gibson is alone, taking periodic phone calls from D and handing out absolutely horrible, uninformed, dangerous and irresponsible advice — all the while getting drunker and drunker until he literally passes out. Gibson chews up the screen while Dr. Alderwood drinks himself into oblivion. It’s a nightmare of a performance by an actor playing a ludicrous character who is meant — I think — to be taken seriously.
What’s that? The rest of the movie? There’s a mildly intriguing setup here, as D makes the trek to the remote island where his brother has recently died under mysterious circumstances. D actually has to write down the words “Sorry for your loss” to remember to say that to his mother, because D can’t feel a thing. After we meet a small and mostly uninteresting cast of supporting players (including Tyrese Gibson as a local lawman who is incredibly inept), who should come a-calling but the veteran character actor Kevin Durand as Cole, your standard-issue psychopathic villain who is prone to giving long speeches and has come here in search of some sort of treasure, and wouldn’t you know it, Cole and D have a long history together, as Cole reminds us in speech after speech after speech. (As Talking Villains go, this guy’s a real blabbermouth. And dumb.)
As “Dangerous” runs off the rails and introduces a World War II element into the big mystery, we get a final glimpse of Dr. Alderwood back in CLEVELAND, OHIO, looking hung over and dazed as he takes one last call from D, says his goodbyes and sighs heavily.
One feels a sense of dread for the rest of Dr. Alderwood’s patients and hopes he’s not giving them the same cocktail of lithium, aversion therapy, behavioral modification techniques and booze-soaked advice he administered to D.