A new straight-to-streaming Mel Gibson movie has copped fierce backlash on Twitter for both its casting and “insensitive” subject matter.
The trailer for Force of Nature, released on Wednesday, has been met with an avalanche of criticism with people arguing that not only is the plot problematic, but the stars of the film – Mel Gibson and Emile Hirsch – are, as well.
They’ve also pointed out the film, which is loosely based around 2017’s Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, has “racist” elements, given the white cast members are the heroes, and the Puerto Rican islanders the villains.
Force of Nature follows Ray (Gibson) refusing to leave his home amid a Category 5 hurricane. Frustrated by her father’s stubbornness, his daughter, played by Kate Bosworth, calls an officer (Hirsch) to reason with Ray and get him to safety. Hirsch and Gibson later team up to fight a Latino gang who try to break into his apartment complex.
The setting in Puerto Rico – which was devastated by Hurricane Maria three years ago – and casting of two white actors fighting a Latino gang stirred up plenty of distaste on social media, with Twitter users also pointing out that the film’s “heroes” have their own unsavoury pasts off-screen.
Gibson has a history of anti-semitism and has been accused of domestic violence, and Hirsch was charged with assaulting a female film executive in 2015.
“MEL GIBSON IS STARRING IN A MOVIE WHERE HE REFUSES TO EVACUATE HIS HOME IN PUERTO RICO THATS ABOUT TO BE HIT BY A CAT 5 HURRICANE?! WHAT IN THE CAUSACITY? WHOS IDEA WAS THIS?!?!?!!” tweeted one hater along with the trailer.
“Youre telling me, Gringos wanna make a hollywood film about the most traumatizing event in Puerto Rico history and center it around a snobby white old man who refuses to leave his home? Are you f***ing kidding me???,” another said.
“Straight-to-streaming piece of sh*t stars an anti-Semitic, abusive racist who battered his ex-wife and a dude who went to jail for attacking and choking a woman,” one more user wrote.
“Umm a heist in the middle of a hurricane devastation in Puerto Rico with Mel Gibson saving the day? #ForceofNature feels too soon and tone deaf,” said another.
Some, however, were supportive of the flick.
“Mel Gibson is a legend, a real talent. Very rare in Hollywood. Great actor and a magnificent director. I’m a Puertorican and not offended by Force of Nature. At all. Stop with the nonsense and the victim mentality,” one wrote.
“Looking forward to this. I love Mel Gibson movies,” another added.
Gibson, who grew up in Sydney, has suffered irreparable damage to his career over the years, with some of the industry’s top players refusing to work with him.
In 2006, the actor was arrested for drink driving and was caught on tape making anti-Semitic remarks to the arresting officer.
In the years that followed, controversy has followed Gibson, including a headline-making interview during which he slammed a reporter who asked him about the 2006 incident, and a fiery recorded rant against his ex Oksana Grigorieva in 2010.
As for Emile Hirsch, the 35-year-old actor was sentenced to 15 days in jail in 2015 after pleading guilty to the assault of Daniele Bernfeld, an executive for the Paramount Pictures. He was found to have choked Bernfeld at a nightclub during the Sundance Film Festival.