The action genre is a tried and true formula that will never cease to be popular. It’s often the spectacle of watching a sole individual achieve the impossible through the sheer force of will. And while the climactic moments of these films are often miles from reality, it’s the power fantasy and the jolt of adrenaline these explosive sequences often deliver that make action movies so appealing. What ultimately makes or breaks an action film are the characters at the heart of the story. We’ll return time and time again to watch Tom Holland’s plucky Spider-Man experience the next big upset in his web-slinging career. And let’s not forget Vin Diesel’s Dom Toretto and his family of specialists who seem to hold an unshakeable power over death itself.
But in Netflix’s latest offering, The Motherthe breathless velocity is laced with a serious edge. Jennifer Lopez sheds her rom-com persona and assumes a tough, surprisingly effective action-hero persona. As an expert assassin, Lopez must protect the child she gave up years ago from being killed by former associates who want both of them dead. The Mother is a lean, often brutal action movie, one that has proven to be a hit with audiences as it’s one of the most popular movies on Netflix. Here’s why you should watch it right now.
Jennifer Lopez shines in an action-heavy role
It’s truly a turn as riveting as Liam Neeson’s overnight transformation from multi-faceted thespian to action hero with the release of Taken in 2008. It’s not like he ever lacked the stoicism or bravado as an actor in his pre-Taken career, but his role as CIA operative Bryan Mills shed new light on a man who can growl and take names like the best of them. The Mother depicts a similar metamorphosis in its leading lady. We might be used to seeing J. Lo trying on wedding dresses in films like Shotgun Wedding or Marry Me or taking to the stage as a talented singer and dancer. But The Mother shows that the actress can channel her dark side and bloodlust with ease and make it believable. While never explicitly named in the film only ever going by the moniker in the credits as “the Mother,” Lopez’s character takes the old mama bear adage, puts it through Navy SEAL training, and comes out the other side as a force to be reckoned with.
It’s a real trip getting used to a J. Lo that lacks a smile on her face for nearly all two hours of the film’s runtime. But she absolutely sells the tortured, lone warrior schtick, and we all buy it at full retail price. While most of us may not be experts, Lopez absolutely can handle deadly weapons in genuine form. The end result is a potential action star worthy of Bourne and Taken fans’ attention.
The Mother has excellent pacing and never feels boring
Action movies often must balance the slow moments with the fast. It’s a feat that is truly challenging for directors and film editors alike. If it swings too much either way, the movie is either deemed as plodding and dull with “few” great moments or relentless and too fast. The Mother makes use of its slower moments to buoy up its characters, not just the titular mother, but those who surround her, as well. There’s never an overindulgence in exposition and the film trusts the audience to make plenty of connections without explicitly stating them. Furthermore, the action is balanced with an explosive intro to pull you in from the get-go. The middle of the film ramps up toward a quick crescendo almost like it’s ending. After a brief respite from the drama and bloodshed, more danger rears its ugly head setting up the third act.
There’s never a dull moment in The Mother. Jennifer Lopez’s magnetism is enough to keep viewers locked in when the more bombastic combat sequences subside. The narrative also doesn’t ever feel the need to complicate things. Simply put, the film is about a mother protecting her daughter from bad men that she used to associate with. Everything else is just icing on the cake.
The action is intense and brutal
Don’t go into The Mother expecting Fast X or any other Netflix action movie. While intensity and conflicts are ever-present, this isn’t a relentless in-your-face collision course riddled with high-speed chases and death-defying maneuvers. The action at the heart of The Mother is measured, but impactful all the same. The Mother might seemingly throw caution to the wind for the sake of her child’s safety, but her ability to handle herself is on full display. She knows her way around a firearm, but in a pivotal scene, she also holds her own in hand-to-hand combat.
And while the film might not be littered with high-speed chases, there is one, in particular, that accents the third act’s events. Needless to say, it’s an edge-of-your-seat affair. Because these sequences are used expertly, they have a far greater impact.
Ultimately, The Mother distinguishes itself among Netflix’s other original movie offerings as a worthy addition to the dramatic action pantheon. This isn’t a by-the-books throwaway action romp. Jennifer Lopez delivers the goods ultimately leaving us wanting more from this potent femme fatale in future projects within the same genre.
The Mother is currently streaming on Netflix. Hungry for more action? Then check out these 5 female-led action movies.