A movie called “The Mother” certainly has a lot of symbolism, and this action thriller, starring Jennifer Lopez as a trained assassin who must protect her daughter, has plenty.
In the opening scenes, Lopez’s character, known only as Mother, is interrogated by FBI agents who are trying to get information about two arms dealers with whom She is done working, and sleeps. Agent Cruz (Omari Hardwick) is respectable. The second agent (Link Baker), not so much – and tells him so with a hectoring monologue. (One of the film’s guilty pleasures becomes predictable when a criminal goes silent.)
In Nikki Caro’s fast-paced film, Agent Cruise assures the mother that she is safe. “No I’m not,” she says. Guess who is right? Mayhem ensues and, in an act surprising for its intense violence, we learn that the mother is pregnant. The newborn, Zoe, is placed with a loving family, and the mother moves back to Alaska where fellow soldier Jones (Paul Racey) has her back.
This arrangement kept the mother and child safe for 12 years when Agent Cruz received word that Zoe (Lucy Paez) had been found by the mother’s former partners: Adrian Lovell (Joseph Fiennes) and Hector Alvarez (Gal García Bernal). has taken. Lovell is a messy smooth piece of work. As Alvarez, Bernal suffers some candlelit persecution when the action shifts to Cuba.
What kind of resistance will men face? Lovell trained Mom as a sniper in Afghanistan. She also knows how to bend blades.
They should not be fooled by mother nature. Aside from some deadpan exchanges between Mom and Zoe, Lopez plays the role hard. Even so, it is not always clear which gestures in the film are to be taken seriously, and which play into the masculinity of the genre, allegorizing the sacrifice of the birth mother.
Rated R for gun and knife violence, some language and brief drug use. Running time: 1 hour 55 minutes. Watch on Netflix.