Phil and I don’t do Christmas movies. I made an exception for Kurt Russell last year in The Christmas Chronicles, but did it on my own whilst ironing, and Kurt just about got away with it, but I don’t think Phil would have coped. This year, with it being all Corona-ry and doom and gloom we thought oh what the heck, lets have a bit of fun on Christmas day and do a Christmas movie. Off to Amazon Prime where (sadly) we chose Fatman (2020) written and directed by Eshom and Ian Nelms and starring Mel Gibson as Chris Cringle, aka Santa.
I’m not recommending this movie so there are spoilers, skip it if you intend to watch it.
The movie is billed as a dark comedy action film, and I can’t argue with that, it’s dark in places, funny in places and has a fair amount of action in places, but none of it gels with any coherence.
The plot has Chris Cringle living on a farm in Alaska near a town called North Peak. He runs a Christmas present shop and lives with his wife Ruth (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) and in a large underground workshop a herd of elves work at producing the Christmas presents. Chris’s income is declining due to children becoming more vicious (he comes home after delivering presents with a shotgun wound in his side). The government have an interest share in Chris’s business and 2 of their agents come to visit him with a military guy, Captain Jacobs (Robert Bockstael) in tow. They want Chris to take on a 2 month contract with the military to build parts for their F35 (I think) fighter jets. He’s not happy about it but needs the money so eventually agrees. The army turn up with security perimeters and the like to safe guard the work.
Next up we are looking at the life of young Billy Wenan (Chance Hurstfield) a rotten little rich kid whose father is away with his girlfriend in the Bahamas whilst Billy is at his lavish residence with a poorly Grandmother and a couple of maids. Billy has won his school’s invention competition every year so far, but this year becomes the runner-up to a girl classmate. Billy forges his grandma’s signature onto blank cheques in order to pay Johnathan Miller (Walton Goggins) his personal hit-man who works in a toy store. He pays him to intimidate the girl into telling the school she cheated at making her invention so she has to give her 1st place ribbon back, and Billy then gets the 1st place. Santa (as anyone who listens to Bruce Springsteen will know) knows if you’ve been bad or good so you better be good for goodness sake, and the rules are if a kid is bad he gets a lump of coal instead of a present. Well Billy gets his lump of coal and is not a happy Bunny at all. He gets on the phone to the hitman and contracts him to kill Santa. Miller is quite happy to accept the contract as he was let down by Santa when he was a young boy and wanted his dead parents brought back to life, which Santa couldn’t do.
Miller can’t find out where Santa lives as it’s all kept very secret, but eventually he tracks him down after shooting a few post office workers to get the information. He infiltrates the farm, killing most of the US Army guards and gets into the workshop. One of the elves discovers him and raises the alarm whilst Captain Jacobs evacuates the other elves just before Miller blows up the workshop. By now Santa has got his clothes on (he’d been having a canoodle with the Missis) and comes out to face off against Miller. There’s a shoot out that ends up with Santa and Miller both dead.
Then we go back to Billy, who is just about to poison his Grandma as she’s discovered someone has been taking money from her account and it won’t be long before she finds out it was Billy. But before he can accomplish this, up turns Mr and Mrs Cringle, because, as we all know, Santa is immortal, and therefore wasn’t dead, though looked pretty bad with an eye missing and using crutches. Chris gives Billy a stern talking to and warns him that if he returns to his evil ways, Santa will come back for him.
Chris and Ruth go home and start rebuilding the workshop with renewed enthusiasm. The End.
So Fraggle, & Mr.Fraggle what’s wrong with it?
Firstly. Phil wasn’t keen on the title, Fatman.. not a nice thing to call anyone and doesn’t fill you with festive cheer really, and Mel Gibson might be stocky, but he isn’t really fat, so it doesn’t even make any sense.
Secondly, the Army need a bunch of elves to make some sort of circuit board for the fighter jet? What exactly they were making isn’t really made clear, and it isn’t anything at all to do with magic so really they could have continued to have the circuit boards made by Exception PCB, who currently manufacture them for the USA’s F35’s in Gloucestershire, south west England. However, it is a Chinese owned company so maybe the Americans are pulling out of that- not sure, none of this is explained in the movie.
Thirdly. The army made the elves cut off the bells from their pointy shoes (I gasped in horror at this dear reader!) so as not to set off the army metal detectors, but a lone hitman manages to get in with shed loads of metal weaponry and takes out all the US Army soldiers, of which there are a fair few. Really doesn’t say much about the capabilities of the soldiers. We could not believe they’d be so useless, the metal detector obviously doesn’t work anyway and they didn’t have surveillance cameras or equipment so they could see what was going on and form a defence strategy. Poor show by the U.S.Army.
Fourthly, what is this movie trying to say? That kids aren’t excited by Christmas/Santa anymore so just want to shoot him down all the time? Not in our family that’s for sure. My grandkids were buzzing about it all. That if you can’t find enough work to support yourself best join the army? Not if they’re this useless I think. Be good or you’ll die? Clearly not true, plenty of bad men surviving in the world today.
Fifthly, Billy hasn’t seen his father in months and Dad is spending Christmas with his girfriend in the Bahamas. No mention of a mother so Billy lives with his kindly but wheelchair bound, oxygen snooting grandma. He is in a lush grand house and has servants who he is quite rude to. No parental guidance or chastisement here, no love or family normalcy, the kid is neglected and growing up feral even though he’s in a guilded cage. So Santa scares the bejesus out of him, doesn’t take any of his circumstances into consideration or try to help him become a better person, or at least put things in motion to help him, just threatens him to be good or else. It doesn’t work like that. He should at least get in touch with social services.
Sixthly, if your parents had died when you were a kid, would you really hold a grudge against Santa for 41 years for not resurrecting them for you and become a hitman? or would you have come to terms with it somewhere along the way and done the best you could with your life? No brainer there folks.
Seventhly, only a very brief scene with a couple of reindeer in their stable, and no sleigh being pulled through the sky by Rudolf and his fellow Reindeer!! Sorry but that is just plain wrong. And quite unforgiveable I think.
Can’t complain about the acting, Mel does a good job of being morose and depressed about how life is going, and is a serious badass Santa with guns. Jean-Baptiste is his calm and moderating wife. Goggins (seriously man, couldn’t you have picked a better screen-name??) is on the right side of cold blooded yet demented killer and the elves are super cute. The snowy scenery is nice, and there is a non-destructive instantly forgettable soundtrack. A bit like the movie really.
Fraggle Rating: Blerk. Watch The Christmas Chronicles instead.