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The Good, The Bad and The Badass: Mel Gibson

05.11.2015
Last week, we took at look at the career of Joss Whedon, arguably one of the hottest names in showbiz right now. This week's star was arguably the biggest name in Hollywood throughout the nineties, and while his career has suffered lately, he still may have a comeback left in him...
Mel Gibson
mel gibson lethal weapon

It think it's fair to say that Mel Gibson's become a polarizing figure in the last half-decade or so. While he certainly did some inappropriate things, the Hollywood backlash against one of their all-time most popular stars has been hypocritical at best. He's virtually become persona non grata, but Gibson himself has been hard at work, and with an action film in the can, and a big-budget directorial project set to film, the time just might be right for Gibson to reemerge.

mel gibson road warrior

Whatever the case, it can't be denied that Gibson's made his share of great films. From MAD MAX, which he starred in at the tender age of twenty-one (I couldn't imagine any other kid that age leading an action film) through THE ROAD WARRIOR and his eventual American breakthrough with LETHAL WEAPON to his Oscar-win for BRAVEHEART, he was one of the greats. He always delivered and no matter what, his films will stand the test of time.

mel gibson lethal weapon danny glover

On a personal note, it's been very hard for me to accept Gibson's fall from grace as his movies – specifically the LETHAL WEAPON saga – were very important to me when I was growing up. I watched them so much my parents used to joke that Riggs and Murtagh were my buddies, and I wore out all my VHS tapes (of the first three anyways). Heck, I even really liked his lesser vehicles like TEQUILA SUNRISE, AIR AMERICA and FOREVER YOUNG. It'll be good to see him (hopefully) regain the affection of his fans.

His Best Film
mel gibson braveheart

While I have a soft spot for the first two LETHAL WEAPON films, and am a huge ROAD WARRIOR devotee, it can't be denied BRAVEHEART will be the movie Gibson will be remembered for. It's still one of my favorites, being a perfect mix of historical drama, action-adventure and romance. The three hour running time whizzes by and if any modern Hollywood films are worthy of being compared to a classic like LAWRENCE OF ARABIA, this is the one. It just never gets old and even Gibson's hardcore critics have to admit, it's a powerful piece of work.

His Most Underrated Films
mel gibson the bounty

One Mel Gibson movie I never really found has gotten its due is THE BOUNTY. A large-scale eighties updating of the MUTINY ON THE BOUNTY story, the film goes against type portraying mutineer Fletcher Christian (played by Gibson as a bit of a fool) as conflicted villain, while Anthony Hopkins makes a sympathetic Captain Bligh (who's typically demonized). It has a great score by Vangelis, gorgeous location photography and a crazy cast of young stars, including Daniel Day-Lewis and Liam Neeson. It's ripe for rediscovery.

mel gibson goldie hawn bird on a wire

My next choice – BIRD ON A WIRE – comes with an asterisk. While it's a fun little romantic-comedy-thriller, John Badham's film really only becomes exceptionally good in the climax. Here, the formerly charming comedy turns into a full-on Mel Gibson action film. The ponytail he rocks for most of the movie is gone, replaced by his Riggs hair, as he takes on the baddies in a huge indoor zoo, while a kick-ass early Hans Zimmer score rocks the soundtrack. It goes a little too far in that Gibson's regular Joe becomes a wisecracking Riggs' type hero, shrugging off multiple gunshot wounds and dispatching villains like a pro. But it's a great scene.

His Most Overrated Film
passion of the christ

While THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST defied Gibson's critics and made a mint at the box office, his troubles can really be traced back to this controversial project. While artistically a triumph, this movie has always struck me as too unsettling and violent, with the religious subject matter a rather convenient excuse for some of the most graphic acts of sadism I've ever seen on the screen. I think Martin Scorsese's THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST is far superior, although I'm sure many Christians will disagree.

His Most Memorable Scene

For some reason, I blanked on BRAVEHEART when I pitched this to my editor Paul Shirey, suggesting the coke deal in LETHAL WEAPON was his best scene. I was quickly corrected by Paul, who suggested that Gibson's big speech in BRAVEHEART can't be beat, and he's absolutely right.

His Ten Best Films


10. PAYBACK/ GET THE GRINGO
9. THE PATRIOT
8. THE YEAR OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY
7. GALLIPOLI
6. RANSOM
5. MAD MAX
4. LETHAL WEAPON 2
3. THE ROAD WARRIOR
2. LETHAL WEAPON
1. BRAVEHEART

Up Next

Gibson's making a big push for a comeback this year. First, he's got BLOOD FATHER – an actioner – in the can. Next, he's directing Andrew Garfield in HACKSAW RIDGE. Fingers crossed both turn out to be worthy vehicles for his still considerable talent.

Source: JoBlo.com

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+0
9:01PM on 05/13/2015
A true icon and legend of cinema and one of the best actors and directors in the business. Mel has starred or directed in so many of my all-time favorite films. It's been tough seeing him get so few leading roles these last few years. I hope he makes a genuine box office comeback with Blood Father.
A true icon and legend of cinema and one of the best actors and directors in the business. Mel has starred or directed in so many of my all-time favorite films. It's been tough seeing him get so few leading roles these last few years. I hope he makes a genuine box office comeback with Blood Father.
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11:53AM on 05/13/2015

My favorite

"On a personal note, it's been very hard for me to accept Gibson's fall from grace as his movies...were very important to me when I was growing up."

Agreed 100% I love The Gibson. I can write for hours on why I love him but I'll keep it brief. Next to Star Wars and BTTF the Mad Max trilogy is one of my favorites of all time and while I'm looking forward to Fury Road because Miller is finally getting to see his vision come to life it will never be the same without Mel. The greatest "what
"On a personal note, it's been very hard for me to accept Gibson's fall from grace as his movies...were very important to me when I was growing up."

Agreed 100% I love The Gibson. I can write for hours on why I love him but I'll keep it brief. Next to Star Wars and BTTF the Mad Max trilogy is one of my favorites of all time and while I'm looking forward to Fury Road because Miller is finally getting to see his vision come to life it will never be the same without Mel. The greatest "what if" movie for me is the original version of Fury Road when Mel was going to be in it, that was the movie of all movies for me.

Anyway I couldn't care less about the backlash. It's kind of like Arnold movies these days, they're not going to be big hits that get everyone talking but it's truly special for us fans because we get to see our heroes in a new film at least once a year.
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1:51AM on 05/12/2015
Mel Gibson is a beast. He would be great in a Tarantino film primed for a resurgence like Travolta after Pulp Fiction. Braveheart, Lethal Weapons, and Mad Max series are all classics. Surprised not to see We Were Soldiers not on the list though, I love that movie.
Mel Gibson is a beast. He would be great in a Tarantino film primed for a resurgence like Travolta after Pulp Fiction. Braveheart, Lethal Weapons, and Mad Max series are all classics. Surprised not to see We Were Soldiers not on the list though, I love that movie.
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8:08AM on 05/12/2015
I've also thought he would be great in a Tarantino film. He's someone who could really pull the true raw talent out of Gibson.
I've also thought he would be great in a Tarantino film. He's someone who could really pull the true raw talent out of Gibson.
9:55PM on 05/11/2015
Mel Gibson is a legend. Braveheart is without a doubt his best. Can't wait for his new projects.
Mel Gibson is a legend. Braveheart is without a doubt his best. Can't wait for his new projects.
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+3
3:42PM on 05/11/2015
❤Mel Gibson❤

Loved him long before any controversy and I still love him. For all the reasons already given.
❤Mel Gibson❤

Loved him long before any controversy and I still love him. For all the reasons already given.
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2:48PM on 05/11/2015
Committed the ultimate sin on this earth...spoke bad about the Jews. He will aways be one of the best stars in hollywood.
Committed the ultimate sin on this earth...spoke bad about the Jews. He will aways be one of the best stars in hollywood.
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3:13PM on 05/11/2015
Well, it was catholic doctrine for centuries that the Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus, and Martin Luther even went so far as to say the a good Christian would kill any Jew he came across for this reason. It's so sad that so many people died over the murder of a mythical man.
Well, it was catholic doctrine for centuries that the Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus, and Martin Luther even went so far as to say the a good Christian would kill any Jew he came across for this reason. It's so sad that so many people died over the murder of a mythical man.
1:36PM on 05/11/2015
One of the best ever.
One of the best ever.
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10:09AM on 05/11/2015

Great Actor/Director...

Mel Gibson has had a storied career in Hollywood, one that many would die for. His "Mad Max" movies were enough for me, but just throw in "Braveheart", "Signs", "Lethal Weapon 1 & 2", "The Patriot", etc. and he's hard to beat. I suppose that he is the reason I have so much trouble getting my head and heart around "Fury Road".

Give Mel a break folks. He deserves one after all the fun and good stuff he's given us.
Mel Gibson has had a storied career in Hollywood, one that many would die for. His "Mad Max" movies were enough for me, but just throw in "Braveheart", "Signs", "Lethal Weapon 1 & 2", "The Patriot", etc. and he's hard to beat. I suppose that he is the reason I have so much trouble getting my head and heart around "Fury Road".

Give Mel a break folks. He deserves one after all the fun and good stuff he's given us.
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11:55AM on 05/13/2015
Same for me regarding Fury Road.
Same for me regarding Fury Road.
+2
10:02AM on 05/11/2015

Braveheart, Lethal Weapon and Signs

Mel Gibson is truly a legend.. I love Signs, the chemistry between him and Joaquin Phoenix is great and it's one of my favorite Gibson's movies..
Mel Gibson is truly a legend.. I love Signs, the chemistry between him and Joaquin Phoenix is great and it's one of my favorite Gibson's movies..
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4:29AM on 05/11/2015
Very badass indeed. His best films to me are Mad Max and Lethal Weapon series. It's Mel Gibson at his best. His underrated film is The Beaver. It's probably his best performance since Braveheart. Great movie too.
Very badass indeed. His best films to me are Mad Max and Lethal Weapon series. It's Mel Gibson at his best. His underrated film is The Beaver. It's probably his best performance since Braveheart. Great movie too.
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3:01AM on 05/11/2015
he is one of my favorite Directors.i would rank him with the likes of Scorsese,Tarantino,Sergio Leone who can film violence artistically.eagerly waiting for his next film
he is one of my favorite Directors.i would rank him with the likes of Scorsese,Tarantino,Sergio Leone who can film violence artistically.eagerly waiting for his next film
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3:19PM on 05/11/2015
While I liked Apocalypto, and thought he did an awesome job with that, just that one movie doesn't make him worthy to be put in the same tier as Scorsese and Tarantino. The only Sergio Leone movies I saw were the man with no name trilogy, so I can't really speak to his status much beyond that.
While I liked Apocalypto, and thought he did an awesome job with that, just that one movie doesn't make him worthy to be put in the same tier as Scorsese and Tarantino. The only Sergio Leone movies I saw were the man with no name trilogy, so I can't really speak to his status much beyond that.
4:11PM on 05/11/2015
I also stupidly forgot that he directed Braveheart, so that makes two. Still, there aren't any movies he did that I feel really can stand with Tarantino and Scorsese.
I also stupidly forgot that he directed Braveheart, so that makes two. Still, there aren't any movies he did that I feel really can stand with Tarantino and Scorsese.
2:08AM on 05/12/2015
Elessar83 Mel Gibson directed Braveheart, The Passion of the Christ and Apocalypto and just with those 3 films he's my favorite director and on top of my list. You also have to take into account that Mel doesn't get the same support from studios like Spielberg, scorceses and Tarantino...Mel had to use his own money to make The Passion and Apocalypto. Imagine all the great movies Mel Gibson could make with support of the big studios?
Elessar83 Mel Gibson directed Braveheart, The Passion of the Christ and Apocalypto and just with those 3 films he's my favorite director and on top of my list. You also have to take into account that Mel doesn't get the same support from studios like Spielberg, scorceses and Tarantino...Mel had to use his own money to make The Passion and Apocalypto. Imagine all the great movies Mel Gibson could make with support of the big studios?
3:00AM on 05/11/2015
he is one of my favorite Directors.i would rank him with the likes of Scorsese,Tarantino,Sergio Leone who can film violence artistically.eagerly waiting for his next film
he is one of my favorite Directors.i would rank him with the likes of Scorsese,Tarantino,Sergio Leone who can film violence artistically.eagerly waiting for his next film
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2:43AM on 05/11/2015
It's a shame Hollywood will never give him another chance. We've all said dumb shit in our lives, and the man keeps on pushing on, but he'll never get proper recognition for any future work from Hollywood IMO. All us fans can do is support him and hope that one day he'll catch a break.
It's a shame Hollywood will never give him another chance. We've all said dumb shit in our lives, and the man keeps on pushing on, but he'll never get proper recognition for any future work from Hollywood IMO. All us fans can do is support him and hope that one day he'll catch a break.
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8:26AM on 05/12/2015
agree. saddens me when every article about him - even the ones about achievements - can't leave out references to his failures. Don't see that in articles about ex-felon Tyson. So hard for me to understand why his punishment has been so disproportionate. Only started watching his films (and read his story) last year - but he impresses me with his ability to carry on despite it all.
agree. saddens me when every article about him - even the ones about achievements - can't leave out references to his failures. Don't see that in articles about ex-felon Tyson. So hard for me to understand why his punishment has been so disproportionate. Only started watching his films (and read his story) last year - but he impresses me with his ability to carry on despite it all.
12:55AM on 05/11/2015
The man is a legend and one of the few actors (along with Val Kilmer) who I would like to see make a big comeback, sooner than later.

As for favorite films of his; Lethal Weapon franchise, and the Patriot.
The man is a legend and one of the few actors (along with Val Kilmer) who I would like to see make a big comeback, sooner than later.

As for favorite films of his; Lethal Weapon franchise, and the Patriot.
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12:47AM on 05/11/2015

Legend

So many great choices to choose from with Mel. I agree Braveheart is No. 1 and I might switch up Road Warrior and Lethal Weapon, but they could go either way. One movie I might add to the top ten would be Maverick. It was such a fun movie with great performances from Mel, Jodie Foster, & the great James Garner. There's always a great cameo from Danny Glover in the movie. Another underrated gem would be The Beaver, probably one of his better performances unfortunately in the middle of all the
So many great choices to choose from with Mel. I agree Braveheart is No. 1 and I might switch up Road Warrior and Lethal Weapon, but they could go either way. One movie I might add to the top ten would be Maverick. It was such a fun movie with great performances from Mel, Jodie Foster, & the great James Garner. There's always a great cameo from Danny Glover in the movie. Another underrated gem would be The Beaver, probably one of his better performances unfortunately in the middle of all the stuff going on. Robert Downey Jr. gave a great speech a few years back asking hollywood to give Gibson another chance and I fully support that.
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3:47PM on 05/11/2015
I love that speech RDJ gave.
I love that speech RDJ gave.
11:59PM on 05/11/2015
I love Maverick and would put that as his most underrated. The humor is great throughout. I even like Jodie Foster in it who I usually can't stand outside of Silence of the Lambs.
I love Maverick and would put that as his most underrated. The humor is great throughout. I even like Jodie Foster in it who I usually can't stand outside of Silence of the Lambs.
12:13AM on 05/11/2015
Braveheart is one of my favorite movies, and Mel is one of my favorite actors and directors. I honestly can't think of a single performance of his that I didn't like, but if I had to choose one it would be Machete Kills. I think Passion of the Christ is a great film. I also think Signs deserves to be in his top 10. He has some really great scenes in that movie, and was one of his last truely great performances. Still hoping for a comeback.
Braveheart is one of my favorite movies, and Mel is one of my favorite actors and directors. I honestly can't think of a single performance of his that I didn't like, but if I had to choose one it would be Machete Kills. I think Passion of the Christ is a great film. I also think Signs deserves to be in his top 10. He has some really great scenes in that movie, and was one of his last truely great performances. Still hoping for a comeback.
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4:16PM on 05/11/2015
You're massively overrating Passion. It's a two hour religious snuff film. The best thing about it is Monica Bellucci.
You're massively overrating Passion. It's a two hour religious snuff film. The best thing about it is Monica Bellucci.
+1
12:12AM on 05/11/2015
I just watched Payback on Netflix today. Great movie. I've yet to see the unrated version though.
I just watched Payback on Netflix today. Great movie. I've yet to see the unrated version though.
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12:16AM on 05/11/2015
Payback is one of those rare few films where I prefer the theatrical cut over the unrated director's cut. Theatrical is a leaner, better film IMO.
Payback is one of those rare few films where I prefer the theatrical cut over the unrated director's cut. Theatrical is a leaner, better film IMO.
12:37AM on 05/11/2015
The director's cut is totally different. Everything from the moment Parker shoots Mal through the end is completely new. Interesting to compare them as they really feel like separate films. Apparently Gibson ghost-directed the reshot bits, but good on him for not only letting the original see the light of day, but also contributing an interview to the DVD. But, I'm with Paul, the theatrical is better. The director got carried away redoing it as he dropped a really good score for a totally
The director's cut is totally different. Everything from the moment Parker shoots Mal through the end is completely new. Interesting to compare them as they really feel like separate films. Apparently Gibson ghost-directed the reshot bits, but good on him for not only letting the original see the light of day, but also contributing an interview to the DVD. But, I'm with Paul, the theatrical is better. The director got carried away redoing it as he dropped a really good score for a totally generic one and also desaturated the color in a way that was hip a few years ago but now looks dated.
3:45PM on 05/11/2015
I really do not like the director's cut of this movie at all, but I often feel that way with movies I've actually seen both of because as Paul wrote about Payback, they're usually leaner better films.

I really do not like the director's cut of this movie at all, but I often feel that way with movies I've actually seen both of because as Paul wrote about Payback, they're usually leaner better films.

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