Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Hang up on Mel Gibson in On The Line

French director Romuald Boulanger collaborates with Mel Gibson for his second feature Saban Films’ thriller On The Line. Elvis Cooney (Mel Gibson) is a Los Angeles-based, provocative, and edgy overnight radio host who must play a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a mysterious caller while live on the air. Initially, Elvis thinks the whole thing is a joke until the caller, who calls himself Gary, kidnaps his family and threatens to kill them. 

Making matters worse, Gary is threatening to blow up the whole station and kill everyone inside which, including Gary’s co-workers Dylan (William Mosely), Mary (Alia Seror-O’Neil), and Steven (Yoli Fuller). To save himself, his co-workers, and his loved ones, Elvis has to play a survival game throughout the night, and the only way to win is to find out the madman’s identity.

Growing up as a child of the eighties, I witnessed Mel Gibson as one of the go-to action stars. In the nineties, he emerged as an Award-winning director. Unfortunately, Gibson made some conversational comments in 2006 that resulted in somewhat of a fall from Grace. While Gibson was still working, most of his lead acting roles were in more minor budget films.

It seems that Gibson is going through the motions with all of his acting roles. In terms of pacing, On The Line is no different from the low-budget films that Gibson has toplined over the last few years. And clearly, Gibson is here to collect a check. The alpha male and action here bravado that Gibson brought to Martin Riggs is gone. In one particular scene, Gibson looks out of shape while running.

Sans Kevin Dillon, who only has one scene, the supporting cast is full of nameless actors. No one brings any merit to the film and are only here in an attempt to push along the plot. The film’s least interesting aspect is the antagonist. His character is supposed to be menacing. However, hearing him speak over the film’s duration, he comes off as a troll living in his parent’s basement.

When he’s revealed in the third act, it’s laughable. I think the wiser choice would’ve been to have Gibson go toe to toe with an accomplished voice actor who remains unseen until the climax. We then have Gibson engage in some good ole fashioned fisticuffs with a stuntman. Instead, we get one of the worst twists of the year, which is beyond implausible. 

I get what they were going for with the ending, but in 2022 it just doesn’t work, mainly in the age of cancel culture. I won’t reveal the conclusion, but it comes off as forced. Furthermore, they add another twist, which is a cop-out.

If Gibson ever gets Lethal Weapon 5 off the ground, it could be the keystone to his career. However, On The Line is another waste of his talent.


Final Grade : D –

On The Line is In Theaters, on Digital, and On Demand on November 4, 2022

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