It goes without saying that most people would do anything it takes to protect their family and the ones that they love. This is especially true for the bond between a mother and her child, and it serves as the basis for Netflix’s The Mother. Starring Jennifer Lopez as a mother who leaves her dangerous criminal lifestyle to go into witness protection to protect her daughter, the film has all the typical action set pieces but lacks any personality to make them stand out. The Mother stays safely on the rails as it casually fights its way through its generic story. Just in time for Mother’s Day, The Mother is the perfect film to watch together if you’re looking for revenge against your mom.
Jennifer Lopez stars as a former military solider who uses her training to help a criminal organization smuggle weapons to whomever is willing to pay top dollar for them. After getting pregnant, however, she has a turn of heart and goes to the FBI to turn on her former lovers, crime bosses Adrian Lovell (Joseph Fiennes) and Hector Álvarez (Gael García Bernal). But before she is able to spill all the details, Adrian attempts an assassination that leaves Lopez in the hospital giving up her newborn daughter so that she could live a normal life while Lopez disappears in the witness protection program. Years later though and Adrian and Hector have finally discovered the whereabouts of her daughter Zoe (Lucy Paez). With no other option, the Mother returns to society from her isolation in order to save the daughter she’s watched at from afar.
The Mother is about as interesting and entertaining as listening to the background music while waiting on hold. It’s a placeholder for the action genre. There might be an occasional noteworthy beat, but by the 5th or so time you hear it you’re just waiting for it to end. The film has all the stereotypical makings of the genre; choppy edited action sequences, a chase scene through the city, a training montage. They’re not terrible, but they’re not that well done either. The intensity rarely feels like it goes above a light jog. That is because everything comes too easy for the Mother. It feels like she’s playing a game on easy mode as she casually headshots most enemies and goes from point A to point B with little resistance.
Everything is spelled out in the film, too, and you can see it all coming. Everything except the car that is about to crash into you apparently. There’s a scene where the bad guys crash their car into the one carrying Zoe, and it happens out in this wide open road at this perfectly square intersection surrounded by level farm fields. It’s an absolutely laughable scene because any reasonable person could see them coming from a mile away, literally. But this one thing needs to happen in order to move the story forward, and so it happens in the most basic and simplistic way. There’s no excitement or intensity to it. The crash happens, the bad guys recapture Zoe, and the story moves on.
To the film’s credit, there is one (and only one) scene that breathes a little bit of life into The Mother. When she is training Zoe on how to survive, they hunt and kill a deer, much to Zoe’s shock. When Zoe then refuses to eat meat due to the violence it took to get it, the Mother then tells her how pretty much everything in the world originated with violence. Wars have been fought over soy farms. People have died over plants and animals alike. It’s an interesting conversation in an otherwise dull film.
The Mother starts out with a decent enough idea but poor execution leaves it mixed in with all the other generic action films scrolling by on Netflix’s recommendations. Jennifer Lopez is fine in the role of action heroine, but her star power is nowhere near enough to drag the film out of the muck. It lacks any thrill, intensity, or otherwise enjoyment as it goes through the same old motions of the action genre. The Mother is as generic as its title.
The film has all the typical action set pieces but lacks any personality to make them stand out. The Mother stays safely on the rails as it casually fights its way through its generic story.