PANAMA (2022) Reviews of action thriller with Mel Gibson

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Panama is a 2022 American action thriller film about an ex-marine hired by the CIA to complete an arms deal to fight against the contras.

Directed by Mark Neveldine (The Vatican Tapes; Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance; Gamer; Crank: High Voltage; Crank) from a screenplay co-written by Daniel Adams and William Barber.

Produced by Michelle Chydzik Sowa, Zola Elgart Glassman, Jon Keeyes, Jesse Korman, Frances Lausell, Jordan Yale Levine, Michelle Reihel and Shaun Sanghani.

The movie stars Cole Hauser, Mel Gibson (Last Looks; Dangerous; Boss Level; Mad Max franchise), Charlie Weber, Jackie Cruz, Kate Katzman, Victor Turpin, Mauricio Henao and Simon Phillips.

CIA operative Stark (Mel Gibson) enlists decorated ex-Marine James Becker (Cole Hauser) to negotiate an arms deal for the government with contras in the Panama-based South American region.

Naturally, things don’t go as planned and Becker finds himself fighting off assassinations, courting Femme Fatales, and learning a thing or two about what real political power looks like…

” …Hauser, who’s a lame choice for the main character, showing no charisma or sense of authority in the role, also prone to muttering his lines. Better is Gibson, who commits to the best of his ability. While he’s the focal point of the movie’s marketing, the actor is barely in Panama, with maybe five minutes of screentime and some narration to energize the production, and when Gibson isn’t around, Panama immediately falls into a coma”

Panama is action entertainment with a great lead in Cole Hauser. Panama is also helped by Mel Gibson pretty much playing Mel Gibson. The bad guys are the weakness, but that’s okay. The story is also clichéd as a mofo, but that’s okay too. I ain’t gonna lie, the hot women helped me pay more attention to the screen.” Grade: B Bulletproof Action

“Perhaps the most crippling flaw here is that Cole Hauser is a dull, uninteresting lead. In his defense, Panama isn’t leaning into schlock or chaos that would give him more to work with. The locales already don’t feel authentic, and neither does the vibe of these events inspired truth, but when actual historical is spliced in, it’s only more jarring to watch.” Flickering Myth

“That our protagonist is kind of dumb, as constantly admitted within or excused by Stark’s hole-filling narration, certainly ensures that everyone has multiple chances to stab him in the back and draw out the thin plot until we can see right through it. Becker possesses neither the foresight to suspect people might be out to get him nor the hindsight to learn that he might be betrayed again—by the same person, no less.” Mark Reviews Movies

“Even when there are action beats, such as a jungle shootout where Becker’s team rocks a boombox of heavy metal tunes to disrupt the enemy, the action gunplay is weak. Where is the propulsive force of Neveldine’s prior movies? It’s not like he sacrificed it for a greater attention to detail or to offer any new insights into America’s part in spreading chaos around the globe.” 2/5 Punch Drunk Critics

Panama perplexes me in a lot of ways. Save for a scene involving motorcycles between Hauser and Hénao that basically boils down to a “prove yourself to me” moment from one character to another, there’s not really any action in this film. The film is interested in setting itself in a volatile political landscape, but doesn’t really say anything about said landscape.” Sonic Cinema

“Director Mark Neveldine (Game Over, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance) tries hard to craft a sexy, tropics-based thriller, but nearly every beat is a re-heated moment from infinitely better movies. It’s not a matter of budget, as Daniel Adams’s and William Barber’s script fails on even an entertainment level. The twists lack surprise and a coherent story or character motivation seems to have been an afterthought.” UK Film Reviews

Release date:
Panama will be released by Saban Films theatrically in select locations and On-Demand (VOD) in the USA on March 18th 2022.

Cast and characters:
Cole Hauser … James Becker
Mel Gibson … Stark
Charlie Weber … Hank Burns
Jackie Cruz … Cynthia Benitez
Kate Katzman … Tatyana
Victor Turpin … Brooklyn Rivera
Simon Phillips … Doctor Reyes
Kiara Ortega … Camila
Mauricio Hénao … Enrique Rodriguez
Julia Sandstrom … Casino Bar Women
Julio Ramos Velez … Steadman Fagoth Müller
Jai Stefan … Santos
Néstor Rodulfo … Justines
Joksan Ramos … Pablo
Ramiro ‘Ramir’ Delgado Ruiz … Casino Worker
Jean Pierre Prats … Hotel Guest

Technical details:
1 hour 36 minutes

Production companies:
Yale Productions
SSS Entertainment (in association with)
LB Entertainment (in association with)
SSS Film Capital (in association with)
Do More Productions
Grandave Capital
Idiot Savant Pictures

Fun facts:
Panama was initially announced in 2019 with Morgan Freeman and Frank Grillo attached.



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