(director: Niki Caro; screenwriters: Mischa Green/Peter Craig/Andrea Berloff; cinematographer: Ben Seresin; editor: David Coulson; music: Germaine Franco; cast: Jennifer Lopez (The Mother), Joseph Fiennes (Adrian Lovell), Jesse Garcia (Tarantula), Lucy Paez (Zoe), Yvonne Senat Jones (Sonya), Paul Raci (Jons), Link Baker (Marcus Stone), Edi Falco (SAIC Eleanor Williams), Omari Hardwick (William Cruise), Hector Alvarez (Bernal), Gael García Bernal (Hector); Runtime: 116; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Jennifer Lopez, Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas, Benny Medina, Roy Lee, Miri Yoon, Marc Evans, Misha Green; Netflix; 2023-in English & Ukrainian)

“Clunky thriller.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

New Zealander Niki Caro (“Mulan”/”North Country”) directs this clunky thriller (that could have been re-written a thousand times and still be in need of another) of an ex-special forces sniper, with many kills, called only The Mother (Jennifer Lopez). She comes out of hiding to protect her 12-year-old daughter Zoe (Lucy Paez) from the same bad guys who are after her. Her daughter is someone the assassin never knew, as she abandoned her while on the run from the dangerous men who were after her when she quit their gang of gun runners she joined after leaving the military. One of those creeps made her pregnant. There’s no attempt to find out who is the father.

The bad guys are
Hector Álvarez (Bernal) and former SAS Brit Adrian Lovell (Joseph Fiennes).
The film is poorly written without humor and filled with action pic cliches by Mischa Green, Peter Craig and Andrea Berloff.

J. Lo, going against type is unconvincing, as she plays a character so tough she stares down a wolf. That bit was not played for laughs but as serious drama–which was as funny as hell.

One of its key scenes features a foot chase on the streets of Havana, which worked as a scene you would regularly see in a conventional thriller.

When Lovell tries to kill her, the FBI offers her an amnesty only on condition that she hands over her baby to foster-care authorities and takes up a new identity in Alaska. But when she discovers, some time later, from a tip by a friendly FBI agent called Cruise (Omari Hardwick) that her sinister former colleagues are interested in kidnapping her 12-year-old daughter, J Lo realizes that before there can be a happy ending she has to catch up with her former associates.

You should know that this is not a good film, as it’s not only senseless and overwrought but not very entertaining.

THE MOTHER, from left: Jennifer Lopez, Lucy Paez, 2023.
          ph: Doane Gregory / © Netflix / Courtesy Everett Collection

REVIEWED ON 5/13/2023  GRADE: C+