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Review: Jennifer Lopez a decent action star in 'The Mother'

Jennifer Lopez has come a long way from "Maid in Manhattan." In "The Mother," she's an assassin who comes out of hiding to protect her estranged daughter.

PORTLAND, Maine — [Editor's note: This article is a critical analysis of a film and does not represent the views of NEWS CENTER Maine, but that of the author.]

Jennifer Lopez takes a break from rom-com movies to play a deadly assassin in "The Mother." 

The film comes to Netflix just in time for Mother's Day weekend. 


The film opens with a pregnant Lopez trying to cut a deal with the FBI as she hands over information on two weapons smugglers. One of them is named Adrian Lovell (Joseph Fiennes). 

She's never given a name, only referred to (even in the cast list) as "The Mother."

Before a deal is struck, Lovell's men attack the safehouse and kill every agent but one. The Mother manages to rescue an agent named William Cruise (Omari Hardwick). 

Lovell stabs The Mother in the belly, but an explosive she rigged detonates, allowing her to escape. 

After arriving at a hospital, The Mother undergoes surgery, and her daughter is born safely. The FBI convinces The Mother to put her child into protective custody, as Lovell will just continue to seek her out. 

The Mother reluctantly agrees but gives Cruise three demands. First, her baby goes to a good home. Second, she gets an update on every birthday letting The Mother know her child is safe and happy. Finally, if Lovell ever shows up, Cruise needs to contact her, so she can come out of hiding and protect her child. 

Lopez's character then vanishes, moving to rural Alaska. And for 12 years, everything is fine. But Lovell does eventually find the child, now named Zoe (Lucy Paez), and The Mother comes to her rescue. 

Credit: AP
This image released by Netflix shows Joseph Fiennes, left, and Jennifer Lopez in a scene from "The Mother." (Netflix via AP)


Lopez makes for a serviceable action star in a fair film. "The Mother" is serviceable with enough fighting to keep most folks from getting bored. As a sniper, Lopez is convincing enough as she pulls the trigger. But her hand-to-hand combat scenes quickly reveal why she was made into a distance fighter. 

Her name is obviously the big draw for the film, as the writers didn't give her character an actual name, something she shares with the protagonist from "Tenet." 

Netflix has a wide array of action movies that range from remarkable, like "The Harder They Fall," to abominations like "The Man From Toronto." And "The Mother" falls somewhere in between those two extremes. 

With a competent cast, "The Mother" accomplishes what it set out to do, showing a simple story about how far a mom will go to protect her child, especially armed with the skills of a killer. 

The best part of this film is when The Mother takes Zoe to her remote cabin in Alaska to protect her and teach her how to survive. For 12 years, The Mother has lived off the land, hunting, exercising, and keeping her skills sharp. 

When she takes Zoe to the wilderness to impart some hard lessons and make sure she can take care of herself, that's when the movie is at its best. For 10-15 minutes, it feels like they're the only people in this world. And while they argue, and Zoe stews over her situation, Lopez is allowed to gradually reveal the emotions she'd kept bottled up for more than a decade about the child she had to leave. 

The finale drags on a little longer than it should, and during the last showdown, it becomes apparent "The Mother" could have used a trim, bringing the runtime down to 90 minutes from nearly two hours. 

Still, "The Mother" remains a passable action flick that arrives on Netflix in time for the weekend most viewers might be celebrating (or remembering) their own mothers. 

Credit: AP
This image released by Netflix shows Lucy Paez, left, and Jennifer Lopez in a scene from "The Mother." (Ana Carballosa/Netflix via AP)

Also playing this week

In 2018, "Book Club" was released, starring big names like Diane Keaton and Jane Fonda. Now, the sequel is coming to theaters. It's called "Book Club: The Next Chapter."

Here's the synopsis: 

"Follows the new journey of four best friends as they take their book club to Italy for the fun girls' trip they never had."

To see which movies are playing at a theater near you, click here

For more movie thoughts, follow Courtney Lanning on Twitter here.

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