Jennifer Lopez has had one of those careers where people love to hate her and hate to love her. From her start as one of the Fly Girls on In Living Color to her groundbreaking role as doomed Selena Quintanilla Perez in Selena, it seemed that Lopez later nicknamed just J. Lo wouild be the Hispanic version of Julia Roberts or Sandra Bullock.
However, I agree with her husband, Ben Affleck, a lot of the criticism has been more about her race than her singing and acting abilities. With the right material such as Out of Sight, Marry Me, Hustlers and even Blood and Wine and the B-movie silliness of Anaconda, she is great. But unfortunately, she’s made more bad movies than good ones over the last few decades. She’s worked with directors Francis Ford Coppola, Oliver Stone, Steven Soderbergh and Kevin Smith, so she has talent that filmmakers recognize.
A lot of the criticism has been because her last name is Lopez instead of something more Anglo-Saxon. Regardless, she’s gaining an amazing nine-figure networth and at 53 still looks just as beautiful as she did 25 years ago when people made too many comments about how big her “booty” was. (Now, it doesn’t even register as having young women show off their big bank on TikTok.) That being said, I wish The Mother was a far better movie than the standard B-movie action fare it is.
It sucks because she is directed by Niki Caro, whose credits include Whale Rider, North Country and The Zookeeper’s Wife, so Caro nows how to direct strong women in strong roles. Lopez plays the titular character whose name isn’t revealed. She’s a U.S. military operative who got romantically involved with a Special Air Service marine Adrian Lovell (Joseph Fiennes) and arms dealer Hector Alvarez (Gael Garcia Bernal) getting pregnant who were conducting an illegal arms-smuggling operation.
The mother was trying to broker a deal with agents when the safe house was attacked by Lovell and his army who murdered everyone but her and FBI agent William Cruise (Omari Hardwick) who is wounded but she helps. Lovell corners her in a bathroom and stabs her stomach trying to kill the child she is carrying, but she has already made a homemade explosive device that erupts intending to kill Lovell.
However, it didn’t. His body isn’t found. Both Cruise and the mother survive as well as the child. But special agent Eleanor Williams (Edie Falco) says that she will have to terminate parent rights as her child will never be safe and put in a foster home for adoption. Unwilling to do so, she speaks with Cruise who assures her the child will be in a safe home. She moves to Alaska (well, British Columbia) to live a boring life in the wild.
Years pass as the mother turns into Jeremiah Johnson. One day about 12 years later, she hears from Cruise that a raid at one of Alvarez’s location in Mexico, they find a picture of her daughter, Zoe (Lucy Paez), and suspect both he and Lovell might be on to them. And sure enough, Alvarez’s men kidnap her from her Ohio (Vancouver) neighborhood. But she gets Zoe from them with the help of Cruise and they are able to make it to Alaska for safety with Lovell on the trail.
The action scenes are very thrilling but the heart of the movie should be between the mother and Zoe. And you got to hand it to Paez who plays a character who really doesn’t want to be with this woman who she knows is lying about being her mother. Like a lot of Netflix movies, it’s a 90-minute action movie dragged into a two-hour flick with scenes mostly set inside houses, buildings, parking garages and on secluded outdoors and roadways. Both Fiennes and Bernal have about as much enthusiasm as the bad guys as some high school jocks forced to read aloud a Shakespeare play in English class after lunch.
I’m not sure the scenes where the mother tries to teach Zoe how to be a survivalist work as good as they should. She goes from wanting Zoe to having a boring life to being a tween Sarah Connor. They never do really bond the way they should except for the convenience of the plot. Lopez has history in action movies such as in Anaconda and Out of Sight, so it doesn’t seem like this is another celebrity A-lister actress turns into badass action star movie. Not to say there’s nothing wrong with having more women action heroes.
The climatic action scenes of the movie don’t have as much thrills as the ones did earlier. It almost feels like they sorta ran out of money and decided to film as much as they could in British Columbia to help get more tax incentives. It’s really no different than the action movies Bruce Willis, Steven Seagal and Jean Claude Van Damme used to churn out all the time. But my main issue is that too many indoor scenes are barely lit and even out of focus at times.
But if you’re just looking for some mindless entertainment for a couple hours, it’s worthwhile to see J. Lo flex her muscles while surprisingly keeping that hair shiny and perfectly styled.
What do you think? Please comment.