Jennifer Lopez is showing off her inner action star with the new Netflix original movie, The Mother. The film follows a deadly assassin who, after spending 12 years in hiding, is forced to return to protect the daughter she gave up while on the run from dangerous enemies from her past. Now that these men have their sights set on her daughter, she is the only one who can protect her.
Throughout Lopez’s dangerous mission, the audience is introduced to a number of deadly adversaries, both friendly and not-so-friendly. While a number of characters are absolute stand-outs in the cast, others leave much to be desired.
7 Adrian Lovell
Joseph Fiennes plays Adrian Lovell, an ex-marine who was romantically involved with the Mother alongside business partner Hector. When the Mother learned of the heinous darker side of their business, she ratted them out, enraging Adrian, who is now on a never-ending search to get revenge against the Mother.
Adrian takes over the role of the primary antagonist in the film’s final half following Hector’s downfall. In terms of a villain, however, he’s much less compelling than his partner in crime. While he does numerous shocking acts that immediately set him up as a major threat after his introduction, he’s a character that is only defined by his actions and lacks an engaging personality.
Jesse Garcia plays Tarantula, the head lieutenant working under Hector and one of the men directly involved with the kidnapping of Zoe. He’s the first person that the Mother and Cruise use to get a lead on the location of Hector and Zoe. This leads to one of the most iconic scenes in the film, where Tarantula is interrogated and tortured by the Mother for information.
While Tarantula doesn’t initially leave much of an impression in his initial appearance, seeming nothing more than a generic villain underling, his character shines more in his second appearance. His tortured and hardened back and forth with the Mother during his interrogation and torture adds a lot of character and tells a lot about the type of person he is. While he isn’t in the movie for long, his final scene and his gruesome death leave an impression on the audience.
5 Hector Álvarez
Gael Garcia Bernal, perhaps best known for his role in the MCU short film Werewolf by Night, plays Hector Álvarez, the other half of the primary antagonist duo with Adrian, sharing a previous romantic relationship with the Mother. Even from the beginning, Hector is an arms dealer, and he can send his men and capture Zoe to get the Mother out of hiding before Adrian.
Even though he has significantly fewer scenes than his counterpart, Hector is the much more interesting and engaging villain between himself and Adrian. His stand-off with the Mother in his home is filled with so much drama and energy, and Bernal’s performance is the perfect mix of intimidating and over-the-top to make the villain work.
4 William Cruise
Omari Hardwick plays FBI Special Agent William Cruise, who is initially seen interrogating the Mother when she first rats out Adrian and Hector. The interrogation goes south, with every other present agent getting killed, but the Mother is able to save Cruise’s life, and the two form a friendship and bond after the fact. Cruise is the person who initially contacts the Mother to let her know of the impending danger that Zoe is in.
Cruise makes for an interesting case and dynamic with the Mother, as while he’s also been on the front lines of duty, he’s clearly out of his depth compared to what the Mother has been through. This makes for an interesting and effective dynamic between the two, where we see their relationship evolve both indirectly and during their partnership, searching for Hector in Cuba. Cruise’s death in the middle of the film at the hands of Adrian makes for one of the most emotional scenes in the film, as both the Mother and the audience truly appreciate his presence.
Paul Raci plays the role of Jons, a former army colleague of the Mother who houses the Mother in a remote cabin in Alaska followings the events of her interrogation by the FBI. Jons is the primary companion for the Mother during the twelve years she spends in hiding, as well as when she returns to Alaska with Zoe to train her while hiding from Adrian.
Raci portrays the role of Jons perfectly, playing a sweet old war veteran who keeps to himself but is willing to help his closest friend in need. His guidance and observation of the Mother during her twelve years in hiding and once she and Zoe return to Alaska help show his kindhearted nature. It takes significant effort to make the wise old man trope work in modern film, yet Raci’s performance does the character and the archetype justice.
2 The Mother
Jennifer Lopez is rarely known for her roles in action films, and she’s never before played a role as cold and calculated as the Mother. Hardened by her battles in the military, the Mother is defined by her conviction and willingness to get the job done no matter what it takes, as shown prominently throughout the film. From having to give up her daughter to give her a normal life to spend the rest of her days in the harsh winters of Alaska, there are no lengths to which the Mother won’t go.
There’s a difficulty that comes from a character like the Mother, as the film risks portraying the character as so cold that it alienates her and makes her less engaging to an audience. The film can show off the Mother’s hardened attitude in numerous effective ways, however, from her cold and emotionless lack of human connections to her gruesome battle tactics. Lopez plays the character with enough conviction that it’s hard for an audience not to root for the Mother when the going gets tough.
Luzy Paez plays Zoe, the young daughter of the Mother who had been living a normal life before being forced into the ongoing conflict between the Mother and her past. While initially nothing more than an end goal and a person for the Mother to save, the Mother is soon forced to take Zoe under her wing and quickly train her in combat before Adrian discovers them.
Zoe’s addition to the film and dynamic with the Mother adds a lot of light and humanity to the film as a whole. Paralleling perfectly with the hardened soldier mentality of the Mother, Zoe had been living a normal life, and Zoe’s introduction into this tough and gritty world comes as a culture shock. She takes a while to adjust to how the Mother operates, but eventually, he can connect with her biological mother in a way that she never truly thought was possible.
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