THE MOVIE GUY — Gunfight at the North Pole Corral

Published 12:03 am Thursday, November 26, 2020

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Fortitude Pictures

Directed by Ian and Eshom Nelms

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Starring Mel Gibson, Walton Goggins, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Eric Woolfe and Chance Hurstfield

Rated R


2½ Stars


I won’t pretend that the bloody Santa Claus action film, Fatman is a great movie. I’m not sure I even think it’s a good movie.

That being said, it is my favorite movie out this week. Call it a guilty pleasure/Christmas miracle.

Mel Gibson plays Fatman, otherwise known as Chris Cringle to the locals. In this movie, he is also a small business owner struggling to make ends meet. He and the Mrs. (Marianne Jean-Baptiste) do their best to keep their workshop running, but they’ve been forced to take contract work for the U.S. military in order to get them through the lean months.

If things weren’t bad enough, a spoiled rich kid (Chance Hurstfield) gets angry when he receives a lump of coal on Christmas morning, so he hires an international assassin (Walton Goggins) to go to the North Pole and eliminate Santa Claus, once and for all.

We’ve seen many versions of Santa Claus over the years but having a gunfight at the North Pole corral is a new take on this beloved character — one that may rub Christmas purists the wrong way. It’s a silly action film with a Christmas twist, but it still makes me grin all these weeks after watching the film.

Credit the actors here. Goggins is an absolute hoot playing the ruthless hit man who blames his sociopathy on not getting Christmas presents as a child. Gibson is also quite good, bringing a jaded action hero touch to Santa. He’s not very jolly anymore, and he’s a deadly shot in a gunfight, but deep down he just wants the kids to stop being so naughty so he can do his dang job!

Do note that Fatman is rated R, so make sure your young children are nestled all snug in their beds before you watch this film. It mostly earns the rating for the bloody gunfights, although we do get to see Santa and Mrs. Claus in bed. I don’t think it’s anything you haven’t seen in an action movie before, and indeed my main critique of the movie is that it pulls its punches at times, almost as if they were hoping for a PG-13.

If you’re going to turn Jolly Old Saint Nick into a gun-toting anti-hero, you might as well go all the way.

Still, I think the filmmaking brothers Ian and Eshom Nelms went far enough to make Fatman into a guilty pleasure of a movie. I’m still shaking my head in disbelief at how much fun I had watching the film.

Tis the season for sugary-sweet cinematic confections. That’s all well and good for most, but sometimes you just need a different take on Christmas. If you’re like me, this bloody holiday action film just might hit the spot.


Movie reviews by Sean McBride, “The Movie Guy,” are published each week by Port Arthur Newsmedia and seen weekly on KFDM and Fox4. Sean welcomes your comments via email at