Ho Ho Holy Shit...is that Mel Gibson playing Santa Claus? If you're already offended at the notion of Gibson as Cringle, then "Fatman" is definitely not for you. However, in its own deliberate gonzo sort of way, "Fatman" is perhaps one of the freshest - and bloodiest - takes on a holiday film in quite a long time.
The world is changing, that's no question. Kids don't appreciate anything anymore, and Christmas as a whole has lost its true meaning over time, becoming a holiday about taking and not about giving. In the world of this film, Santa, er, Christopher Cringle (Gibson), is a tired old soul, a man that has felt the full onslaught against holiday cheer and who has had the Christmas spirit all but sucked out of him. As you might guess, "Mrs. Claus" (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) is his guiding light and his rock, and maybe the only one keeping him from throwing in the hat and coat.
In this universe, Cringle has entered into a long-standing contract with the U.S. Government to produce Christmas toys, but production is down and the Feds are looking to renegotiate. As if this wasn't enough, snot-nosed rich kid, Billy (Chance Hurstfield) - who has been awfully naughty this year - isn't happy that he found a lump of coal under his Christmas tree, so he reacts by hiring a hitman (Walton Goggins) to go to the North Pole and, well, kill Santa.
Things are as outrageous as they sound, but "Fatman" never takes itself too seriously...how could it? The result is a joyous, bloody-fun revenge thriller that has a surprising amount to say about the deterioration of American culture as related to its biggest holiday.
Goggins - who is always great - leans in to the cheesiness of it all and seems to understand the exact tone that filmmakers Eshan & Ian Nelms ("Small Town Crime") are going for. Gibson is also quite good, doing something with his accent that makes him recognizable as Santa Claus even when scowling at the camera, or loading a gun ready to defend his turf. Even him being cast in this role seems to be a poke in the eye to those who might object to an R-rated Santa Claus film that's full of blood, foul language and guns in the first place.
It's not for everyone, clearly, but "Fatman" delivers the goods, and it might be the most fun you'll have watching a movie this holiday season.
Genre: Action, Comedy.
Run Time: 1 hour 40 minutes.
Starring: Mel Gibson, Walton Goggins, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, , Chance Hurstfield, Shaun Benson.
Written and Directed by Eshan & Ian Nelms ("Small Town Crime").
"Fatman" is in select theaters on November 13th, 2020 and on VOD beginning November 24th, 2020.
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