Fatman is a 2020 American dark comedy action film written/directed by Eshom Nelms and Ian Nelms (Small Town Crime, Waffle Street, Lost on Purpose, and Squirrel Trap). It was produced by Brandon James (Hellraiser, The Righteous Gemstones, Arizona, Vice Principals, and Eastbound & Down) and Nadine de Barros (Night Hunter, Game of Death, Fire with Fire, Vincent N Roxxy, and Rosewood Lane). It was produced by Rough House Pictures ran by Danny McBride, David Gordon Green and Jody Hill. The budget was $20 million and it grossed $1.3 million at the box office.
Chris Cringle (played by: Mel Gibson from the Lethal Weapon fracnise, Mad Max franchise, Payback, and Braveheart) lives with his wife Ruth (played by: Marianne Jean-Baptiste from Robocop, Spy Game, In Fabric, and The Cell) and runs his Christmas present shop on a farm in Alaska. With his income on the decline because too many children are becoming too vicious and naughty all year. The United States government that finances Chris’s business sends Captain Jacobs (played by: Robert Bockstael from Citizen Gangster, Robocop, Silver Surfer, and No Contest) to propose a two-month contract for producing components for a new jet fighter for the US military. The liaison agents override Chris’ misgivings by virtually threatening to withhold the government’s subsidies but Ruth manages to restore his spirits. On Christmas Eve, spoiled rich boy Billy Wenan (played by: Chance Hurstfield from Good Boys, A Million Little Things, The Package, and Ghost Wars) receives a lump of coal from Chris for his selfishness, and swearing revenge. He hires brutal hitman Jonathan Miller (played by: Walton Goggins from The Shield, The Hateful Eight, Justified, and Django Unchained) to kill Chris. Miller already has some personal issues with Cringle from the past. Miller coerces a Postal Service supervisor to tell him Chris’ address from the letters he receives every year from children around the world. Making his way to North Peak, he trails Chris to the farm, infiltrates the compound and kills all the US Army guards. He is discovered by one of the elf workers; the alarm is raised, just before Miller blows up the shop. Chris shows up to the assassin destroying everything that he has worked for. Will Christmas be over forever? or Will the Fatman get his revenge????
Fatman has a ridiculous concept and story, something that you would expect from the 80’s or early 90’s. It’s one of the craziest versions of Santa Claus that you will ever see and it will now be a Christmas tradition for me when it comes to cinema during that time of the year. The script doesn’t take itself serious and it just has a blast with all it’s wild characters. Action icon Mel Gibson doesn’t really do that many films anymore and most of them are smaller projects. This is one of his best roles in a long time and his portrayal of Chris Cringle is one of a kind here. He deserves another chance at the mainstream. I never expected to see Santa as a bad ass like this but I am glad someone decided to do brand new take on the iconic character after all these years. Walton Goggins was great as the ruthless killer for hire with a grudge. From his opening scene, you knew this character was going to be interesting. Chance Hurstfield gives an impressive performance as a spoiled rich brat that will pay anything to get his revenge. You really hate this punk by the end of the movie. Child actors are hit or miss but this kid has been good in everything that I’ve seen him in so far. Marianne Jean-Baptiste was an interesting choice for Chris’s wife but she was the heart of the feature and she’s the one that pushes everything here. Fatman delivers as a dark comedy with it’s violent humor and it has you laughing out loud at some rough moments. The finale is loaded with action. It’s very entertaining to see Chris Cringle and Walton Goggins interact after it’s build up during the whole movie. This is the best thing that Saban Films has produced in years. I would love to see Mel Gibson do more stuff like this, this was one of the biggest surprises from 2020. RECOMMENDED!!!!
Let’s talk about the high definition presentation from Paramount Pictures! This 1080p (2.40:1) transfer looks stunning with it’s winter and cold atmosphere. This definitely a unique take when it comes to Christmas films. The English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track really shines when it comes to all the action and chaos in this. Bullets and mayhem roars through the home set up during Fatman. All of the dialogue is crystal clear and the music has a killer boost to it. It also has English, English SDH, and Spanish subtitles.
Let’s discuss the special features from Paramount Pictures! It has an “Audio Commentary” with directors Eshom Nelms, Ian Nelms, lead actor Mel Gibson, producer Michelle Lang, and cinematographer Johnny Derango. They chat about the cinematography, locations, cast, concept, editing, and many other subjects about the production. They chat about the story. They break down some of the main characters and performances in this. Robert Bockstael came out of retirement to do this. They tell some stories about their experience on Fatman. They go over some of their favorite scenes and moments from the feature. Everyone has fun on this chat and they all have great chemistry with each other. It has a little over 9 minutes of “Deleted and Extended Scenes” which includes Forgotten Milk, Stealing Checks, Letting Her Go, Tracking Down Santa, Mahjong, and Milk for the Road with optional directors commentary. This is a nice extra to have and there’s a few interesting things here but I can see why this was cut out of the final version. “Storyboard to Film Comparison with Director’s Commentary” is a little over 10 minutes, it includes Breaking the News and The Showdown. It also has a digital copy. This needs to be in your Xmas watch list next year. It’s available everywhere next week, CHECK IT OUT!!!!