Film Review – Fatman

As it is that time of year (well, close enough) I thought I would get into the Christmas spirit and go and watch a Christmas movie. That movie was Fatman.

When I first heard of this film, I thought I might take my son to see it. In some ways it was the type of story that would have appealed to a seven year old kid. But then I found out it was rated MA15+, with a bit of course language and strong violence. And some of the violence was fairly graphic.

Santa’s Base and Business

Mel Gibson plays Santa – aka Chris Cringle – while English actress Mariane Jean-Baptiste plays his wife and calming influence Ruth Cringle. They are based in Alaska not the North Pole so right away you get the feeling that this is not your typical Santa movie.

Chris is upset at the way the world is going (he is not alone there I can tell you) and as a result of all the naughty children, too many are receiving a lump of coal for Christmas. More coal means less toys are required. It just so happens that Santa’s toy building enterprise is dependant on US government subsidies and because of the reduced number of toys being produced the government ends up reducing said cash.

Maybe Santa could have started a side-line business of supplying coal to power stations? Well, if it wasn’t for all those climate nuts closing down the coal fired power stations. Hey ho…

Luckily for Chris’s business, the government wants to use the dextrous elf assembly skills to make components for a military jet fighter aircraft. Yes, that’s right; Santa and his elves are going into the aerospace industry.

Meanwhile…

One spoiled, rich and horrible kid called Billy Wenan gets a lump of coal for Christmas and is not amused. So he hires a hitman to kill Santa. The hitman – Jonathon Miller, played by Walton Goggins – manages to track down Chris Cringle’s address by persuading a postal worker to tell him where all the kids’ Christmas letters get sent to; a P.O. Box in North Peak, Alaska. Actually (spoiler alert!) he cod bloodedly assassinates two postal workers – at which point I was in no doubt that this was not a kid’s Chirstmas movie. Can’t leave any trail though eh?

Incidentally, Billy is played by Chance Hurstfield who looks, sounds and acts like he could play a young Charlie Sheen. Producers and directors take note. If Mr. Sheen’s ways continue and lead to calls for a movie of his reckless lifestyle… But back to the Fatman movie…

Miller follows Chris to his Alaskan base and kills load of US army guards (who are now there supervising the military work remember?) and all sorts of chaos ensues.

Spoiler Alert

Miller blows up the toy/weapons factory and Chris then has to face the hitman in a fight to the death. Miller manages to shoot Cringle in the eye and seemingly kills him. Then Ruth (Mrs. Cringle) pops up and shoots Miller. Chris Cringle, being Santa, is basically immortal so he kind of makes a swift recovery from his seemingly fatal injuries. And they all live happily ever after. Well, sort of…

Not before Chris and Ruth trace the hitman’s job details back to young Billy, who they then basically threaten. If he tries to harm anyone again then he will get it!

Critique

Nuts. Crazy. Mad movie. But it is easy to watch and if you don’t mind movies that are deliberately meant to be silly and over the top (see Bill & Ted reviews) then it’s great. Otherwise you will probably think it is fairly poor or possibly even in bad taste.

It is certainly not for kids and for a Christmas film involving Santa that is a first as far as I know. The violence is quite graphic at times and at one point I thought it was turning into a body-count movie. There are a couple of gory scenes and Santa getting stabbed and shot in the eye? No, definitely not for kids.

For me, it is somewhere in the middle as far as ratings go. So, on that basis I give this film three out of five. If you are worried about the toy factory being destroyed then I can tell you that Santa’s little helpers invoke something called a ‘barricade protocol’. So no elves are harmed in the making of this movie.

By the way…Wasn’t Chris Cringle the name of the store Santa in Miracle on 34th Street? It turns out that is another name for Santa. I never knew that, so this film could also be classed as educational.

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