‘Fatman’ is a Christmas tale made for 2020

by Gordon Shelly

As 2020 nears an end, Christmas approaches, and with it comes the Mel Gibson vehicle Fatman. The trailer is misleading. Very misleading. It kind of implies an absurd situation wrapped in action and comedy, with jolly old Saint Nick wrapped in the cloak of heroism.  Well, it’s nothing like that. Not at all.

Fatmani is absurd, so it has that going. But rather than embrace the absurdity and go completely over-the-top, filmmakers Eshom and Ian Nelms try to create a world of reality, where the legend of Santa Claus is a reality and Mel Gibson is that man.  However, Claus is well-past his prime and no longer touting the spirit of Christmas himself, so why should anyone else? He has a secret contract with the American government and business is in great decline, soon to be defunct.  Over the course of the story, an evil 12-year-old hires a hitman (wonderfully played by Walton Goggins) to kill Santa Claus.  Both the kid and the hitman feel betrayed and want vengeance of the worst kind.  It is surprisingly easy for this hitman to track down Claus, dispatch a unit of government operatives and engage in a fight to the death with Mr. Cringle.

Sound funny? It shouldn’t because it’s not. This movie is very dark, at times compelling, but mostly disappointing.  The world created by the Nelms brother, however, is never one that is believable.  The plot of Fatman actually plays very similar to Deadpool 2, but never rejoices in its own absurdity in the way the latter does so well. The viewer is presented with lots of interesting ideas that could either be funny or absurd, but never develops into either, and simply paints the North Pole as a pit of darkness and despair where Claus wades in a pool of sadness of what once was.

Gordon’s Grade:  C-