Mel Gibson’s attempt to resurrect his career like some other famous figure we cannot put our finger on right now continues with a new action movie titled Hot Seat. A trailer has just dropped for the film and it feels like a real attempt to capture the magic of Gibson’s glory days as an action star, except that this time around, he is the one too old for the various tasks in front of him. Jokes aside, Hot Seat does seem like an admirably stripped-down, high-concept throwback action film. Take a look at Mel Gibson in the trailer:
To the film’s credit, Hot Seat sets up its premise extremely quickly. The trailer opens with a quick shot of two men playing a chess game (which represents skill at mental strategy that will no doubt come back in a more action-packed form later). On one side of the highly symbolic board, there is Eddie Steeples (best known for his supporting character work on the sitcom My Name Is Earl), and on the other, a gray-haired and bearded Mel Gibson. Steeples refers to him almost immediately as “Old Yeller” the dog who was famously put down for being rabid but seems to be being used as a reference of literal old age. Then we find out the two are partners on a bomb squad and it appears that Mel Gibson’s city is under siege by a mysterious, untraceable bomber.
Cut to Kevin Dillon as the awesomely named Orlando Friar, a tech expert who turns out to have once been a legendary hacker who called himself the Red Knight. He also finds there is a bomb attached to the bottom of his chair and if he tries to leave, he will be blown up; presumably, this is the titular and very literal hot seat. Once again moving at a rapid-exposition pace, the trailer reveals a mysterious shadowy figure with a Scream-style electronically distorted voice who looks very much like The Incredibles 2’s Screenslaver. This mysterious person is behind the bombs plaguing Mel Gibson and wants Kevin Dillon to hack into the files of a bunch of vaguely nefarious corporate fat-cat types for unclear reasons. The shadowy bomber also seems to like to dramatically laugh a lot.
Hot Seat might be a bit easy to make fun of, but it definitely seems aware of what it is and what it is going for. It looks like a very lean, fast-paced thriller that will require some suspension of disbelief and a whole lot of soul-searching about whether one can watch a Mel Gibson movie after his publicly-recorded anti-Semitic and misogynistic tirades and violent, profanity-filled threats against his former partner. If one can, Hot Seat definitely seems like an old-fashioned, simple action film that probably has some fun ideas about what hackers can do and distorted monologues about corporate malfeasance from a lurking figure. Given that this particular late-period Mel Gibson film was made by the same person who directed at least two of Bruce Willis’ final batch of generic action films, you know what to expect.