Thanks to the original Mad Max trilogy and the Lethal Weapon series, Mel Gibson rocked the action world throughout the '80s and '90s, and also dabbled in directing with award-winning films like Braveheart and Apocalypto. In recent years, however, the name doesn't have the same effect as it used to.
We've caught glimpses of Mel here and there, via the direct-to-video Get the Gringo in 2012, and a new turn playing villains in both Machete and Expendables series. But we miss the old Mel — the headliner, the wise-cracker.
Well, he's back. Here's a quick look at three upcoming films that should put the "lethal weapon" we all know and love back on the map.
3. Blood Father
Mel's epic return to the action-adventure world actually premieres later this month. Blood Father follows a troubled, alcoholic ex-con (a role we assume Mel must have struggled with personal demons to play) who's trying to keep it straight, living and operating a makeshift tattoo parlor out of an RV in the middle of the desert. The troubleshooter is forced back into his old life when he is reunited with his estranged daughter, who's being hunted by a murderous drug cartel.
Gibson stars alongside former True Detective star Erin Moriarty, Shameless star William H. Macy, and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story star Diego Luna in this split-second thrill ride. While it has drawn comparisons to recent action comebacks, most notably Liam Neeson's in Taken and Bruce Willis's in the last couple of Die Hards, the film boasts a talented cast taking on deep, seasoned characters under the direction of Jean-Francois Richet.
2. Hacksaw Ridge
Ten years after Apocalypto, Mel returns to the directing game with Hacksaw Ridge, a heartfelt World War II drama set during the Battle of Okinawa. Based on a true story, the film follows US Army medic Desmond Doss, (portrayed by Andrew Garfield) who braved the terrors of war without a single weapon to defend himself and successfully evacuated dozens to hundreds of wounded from behind enemy lines.
The film also stars Vince Vaughn, Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey, and Hugo Weaving. The project reunites Gibson with Braveheart and We Were Soldiers writer Randall Wallace. Gibson postponed his efforts in a Viking film, to which Leonardo DiCaprio's name was once attached. The film is expected to be a major contender come award season early next year.
1. The Professor And The Madman
For the first time in their equally established careers, Mel Gibson and Sean Penn have recently signed on to star together in an upcoming adaptation of Simon Winchester's The Professor and the Madman, under the direction of Mel's Apocalypto co-writer, Farhad Safinia.
The story follows Dr. William Chester Minor (to be played by Penn), the professor responsible for the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary. The film should prove truly interesting as the good professor develops a relationship with Gibson's Dr. James Murray, who resides as a patient in an insane asylum.
Hopefully, the star power of Gibson and Penn prove stronger than their controversial — and very comparable — histories of substance abuse and legal/domestic issues. The project is currently in pre-production and is expected to be released sometime in late-2017.