Nowadays, a lot of popular Hollywood celebrities desire to either appear in a superhero movie or have their own action movie. They want to kick ass, no matter what. Liam Neeson, Denzel Washington, and Keanu Reeves have all mastered the “Old Man Action” film genre. However, it shouldn’t be assumed that only men may enter the domain of being a badass. The Mother, the newest action movie on Netflix, gives Jennifer Lopez, who is currently reverse aging, the chance to showcase just how awesome she is.
The Mother (Lopez) is a former soldier who is the best of the best, but like most people when they return to civilian life, she’s pretty much built only for the world of war. She even remarks that with all her skillset with a sniper rifle, the best she can do once she returns from Iraq and Afghanistan is to be a local cashier. So, she opts for a more “gray” area and starts working with arms dealers Hector Álvarez (Gael García Bernal) and Adrian Lovell (Joseph Fiennes). As she’s pulled into that world, she finds a line she’s not willing to cross and turns states evidence for the FBI to bring them down.
Of course, that doesn’t sit well with her former colleagues, and they instead try to silence her. After murdering half of the FBI agents at the safe house she was trying to strike a deal, she and her handler William Cruise (Omari Hardwick) manage to barely escape. She does mange to severely injure Adrian Lovell, but not before he injures her as well. Turns out she was pregnant (some great camera work hiding the pregnancy until the big reveal). As she discusses her options with her new FBI handler (Edie Falco) and it’s revealed that Adrian is still alive, so the best thing she can do is give her baby up for adoption to keep her safe and go off the grid.
Fast-forward 12 years later, The Mother is living a simple life in Alaska keeping to herself and hunting deer and wolves. After all, she is one of the best snipers in the world! However, William Cruise (who remains in contact with her) reveals that both Álvarez and Lovell know who and where her daughter Zoe (Lucy Paez) is, and that sets her in motion to try and make sure that Zoe is safe. Surprisingly, it doesn’t take long for The Mother to spring into action and we quickly get a massive shootout and chase scene complete with some badass (and some not-so-badass) stunt work and fight choreography to try and protect her daughter Zoe.
Through a series of twists and turns, The Mother has the titular character come face to face with Zoe and become her guardian as they are now on the run from her assailants. This is where the film starts to lose steam. For a movie about Lopez being a badass mother to protect her daughter, she really isn’t a good mother. She just simply doesn’t know how to be a mother. She treats Zoe more like a child soldier (training her how to defend herself) and is not really interested in some sort of bond with Zoe. Unfortunately, this proves frustrating as this is the one thing The Mother has wanted to do for the last 12 years, and she simply doesn’t seem to be bothered. She knows that Zoe has her adoptive mother, so she holds Zoe at arm’s length, when Zoe really just wants to learn about where she’s from and bond with her birth mother, and The Mother could care less.
It doesn’t take long for the bad guys to track them down (through convenient plot points) for a final showdown. It’s some rather impressive stunt work and fight choreography (compared to some earlier scenes where you can clearly see it’s a stunt double for Lopez) as The Mother does everything she can to protect her child against numerous assailants. The ending feels a little bit forced and melodramatic as it’s not necessarily earned. Like I said, she spent most of the film holding her child at arm’s length and then they have a heart-to-heart, and all is well. The Mother could have added a few minutes of bonding time to help earn the ending. But that said, Lopez still remains a national treasure if only for her awesomeness in her fight scenes throughout the film.
The Mother is currently available on Netflix.