Movie review: All-out action for JLo in 'The Mother'

Fred Hawson

Posted at May 22 2023 06:51 PM

Jennifer Lopez in Netflix's 'The Mother.' Netflix
Jennifer Lopez in Netflix's 'The Mother.' Netflix

"The Mother" (Jennifer Lopez) was a soldier in the US Army, a deadly sharpshooter who did tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq. After her discharge, she got drawn into the illegal weapons trade and became romantically involved with two ruthless men -- Adrian Lovell (Joseph Fiennes) and Hector Álvarez (Gael Garcia Bernal). When she discovered that the men were also involved in child trafficking, she turned to the FBI for assistance.

The FBI convinced her that her safest option was to put her newborn daughter up for adoption in order to keep her safe. Upon her discharge from the hospital, "The Mother" went into hiding in Alaska. Throughout that time, she was kept up to speed about her daughter Zoe by an FBI agent whose life she saved, Cruise (Omari Hardwick). 12 years later, Zoe (Lucy Paez) was kidnapped. "The Mother" was not going to let her captors get away with it.

After achieving stardom in the biopic "Selena" (1997), Jennifer Lopez had mostly been best known in romantic comedies, like "The Wedding Planner" (2001) and "Maid in Manhattan" (2002), up to her most recent films "Marry Me" (2022) and "Shotgun Wedding" (2022). In that last film mentioned, we saw JLo in action scenes as the bride who fought off pirates at her wedding. It is here in "The Mother" that JLo finally goes full-on action star.

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The actors who played her enemies had strong acting pedigrees, but felt underused. Joseph Fiennes also started his career in the late 1990s, notably "Shakespeare in Love" (1999). Gael Garcia Bernal broke out in the early 2000s in Inarritu's "Amores Perros" (2000) and Cuaron's "Y Tu Mama Tambien" (2001). However, the actors who played her friends fared much better drama-wise, namely Omari Hardwick as Cruise and Paul Raci as Jons.

Despite the fact that this action film actually had three scriptwriters, the scenario felt old-school and familiar. Despite all the harrowing injuries The Mother sustained, with JLo there in the title role you somehow knew how everything was going to end from the very start. Jennifer Lopez went all out in her action scenes from that car chase in Havana to the snowy fields in Alaska, yet only she still can manage to look glamorous through all of that. 6/10.

This review was originally published in the author's blog, "Fred Said."