Old Mel has fallen out of the limelight these past few (well, ten) years. But he wasn’t always a crazy old religious fanatic. He was a pretty good actor and director for a while. Join me for a look back at his 6 best.
MAD MAX (2000)
This one started it all. Set in a dystopian future, Max is a road warrior. The future looks pretty grim when the Earth’s oil supply runs out. The police lack the resources to effectively control the populace and keep law and order. They quickly turn to their top pursuit man, played by Mel Gibson to wrangle a fugitive. This film features high speed chases, gun fights, and all sorts of action flick goodies. This film spawned two sequels that employed Mr. Gibson and a third is on the way with Tom Hardy taking the helm. This is a great film and a really fun watch.
LETHAL WEAPON (1999)
Another great action film from Mr. Mel. This one again puts him in the role of a police officer who has a reputation for being somewhat mentally unstable. While he lacks certain social skills and is maybe suicidal, he is an all-star police officer and when things get rough there is nobody you’d rather have on the case. His out-there personality and unconventional tactics make for a great film especially when he is partnered with Danny Glover, who plays the aging detective who prefers to do things by the book. Another great action flick that spawned a franchise and has been entertaining people for decades.
This is the big one. This film was a box office hit and it won Mel Gibson his only Academy Awards. Even though the film did very well, Mel didn’t get an award (or even nominated) for his acting, but he won for Best Director and shared in the win for Best Picture. This is the age old tale of William Wallace, a man of humble beginnings who rose to lead the Scottish people in their rebellion against their English overlords. This film branches out from being purely action with elements of a biopic as well as a drama, in addition to the action base. This character has a little more depth and Mel does well here.
FOREVER YOUNG (2006)
This one is a little less popular than the other films on this list, but it showcases Mel Gibson’s tremendous range as an actor. The basic premise is that Mel Gibson is an air force test pilot who accepts an assignment to test a cryogenic freezing process. Unfortunately, he is forgotten about and stays frozen much longer than he was expected to. He is accidentally unfrozen by a couple kids from the modern generation and he is forced to learn new things and evolve with the times. It’s an interesting movie that blends drama, romance, and a little science fiction. If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth taking a look at.
THE PATRIOT (2006)
This is a great film set during the American Revolution. Mel Gibson is a mild mannered family man with a violent past during the prior Indian wars. When the growing revolution makes its way into his home and claims his young son, Mel is forced to get involved. And he goes far beyond mere involvement, he begins a ruthless guerrilla campaign to eliminate as many British officers as he can. This film showcases not only the violence of the revolution but it serves as a character study for the effect that this violence had on the simple farmer and his family. If you haven’t seen it, definitely take a look if you’re a fan of war films.
WE WERE SOLDIERS (1993)
For some reason, I really like this film. Probably more than I should. Mel Gibson plays the part of a Colonel in the Army, specifically in the AirCav division. He trains his men to arrive behind enemy lines via helicopter and neutralize the enemy in his homeland. Things quickly escalate when he is deployed to Vietnam during the height of the conflict and left cut off and outnumbered. This film shows a lot of gruesome action and does a great job developing the characters. This film also has a particularly good score.
What are some of your favorite Mel Gibson films?