Written by Misha Green, Andrea Berloff, and Peter Craig, “The Mother” has a script thin enough that it can be bordered in translucent, but you know what? It’s good now. Action movies like this don’t need to reinvent the wheel, they just need to give us action — and The Mother has done just that. Unfortunately, a lot of the action happens in rooms that are often dimly lit. Ben Seresin’s cinematography covers the darkness and the rooms so dark that I have to squint at my damn TV and the TV is where everyone will watch this movie since it’s been on Netflix. The opening scene alone, set at a suburban house where Lopez is trying to make a witness protection deal, is so dark that I’m starting to wonder if it’s set in a haunted house. from “Skinamarink” or not.
If this shadow is meant to help conceal a lower budget, it’s a shame, as director Niki Caro (who directed the live-action “Mulan”) once again shows she has an eye for action — as we are told viewing permission. There are funny, funny quirks, such as the scene where Lopez crashes into a guy driving a car near the wedding venue to watch the bride toss the bouquet. The floating, flying bouquet was placed next to a scene where a man was hit by an overturned car in the air – it made me laugh out loud, and not in a mocking way. In fact, I wish “Mother” had ideas that were a bit silly like this. Unfortunately, there’s not much room for fun here, and that’s part of the problem. This is a fierce gunfight, in which Lopez takes down monster after monster with a stone-cold face, and again: it’s okay! Her character has to be a stone-cold killer, that’s her whole deal.
But that doesn’t mean the movie can’t have fun with all that’s going on. You know those Van Damme and Segal action movies I mentioned above? They may not be great movies (in fact, a lot of them are pretty bad!), but they do remember to at least have some fun, giving the audience something to grasp. Not so here. Instead, “The Mother” transitions from one ho-hum action scene to the next, taking the Mother on a worldwide adventure (she has help from an FBI agent played by Omari Hardwick. role, which means she can easily jump from one location or even from one country to another with seemingly no money or trouble).