Seeing Mel Gibson on screen has become rare enough that the appearance of his name on any film is enough to grab our attention, even when said film is released direct to video. Which often has reason to shudder and fear for the career of an actor, a fortiori of a rather action-oriented actor (hello Bruce Willis). But, good surprise: if Mel Gibson returns with a very different role from the severely burnt Dragged on the bitumen or Boss Level , he has not yet succumbed to the sirens of easy supermarket DTV. Because if Waldo, private detective is certainly rather forgettable, it is nonetheless a good film.
WHO IS WALDO
A resigned policeman, he lives cut off from the world, alone in his trailer in the middle of a Californian nowhere and adopts an organic and minimalist way of life – no more than 100 objects and contemplation of nature. But his withdrawal from the world is brutally interrupted when his ex-girlfriend drags him against his will into a murder case within the cast of a prestigious Hollywood series.
Produced by Charlie Hunnam – who continues his redemptive trajectory from the infamous King Arthur: The Legend of Excalibur – and relying heavily on the presence of Mel Gibson in the cast, Waldo, private detective is a kind of police investigation more or less comedy that does not lack arguments, but struggles to get out of its B series status.
In short, the film summons a tone not very far from The Nice Guys , between witty dialogues, ubiquitous adventures and dynamism of the story, but finds itself rather with the scope of a Free Fire : the lines regularly hit the mark, the direction of actors and the casting are impeccable, and the cutting is clean and referenced without being fussy… and for all that, we keep almost no memory of it once the film is finished (except perhaps Mel Gibson’s mustache ).
The fault with a lack of renewal or variations in the archetypes employed by Waldo, private detective , in spite of an undeniable control of these last. Charlie Hunnam also manages to give a real comic breath to his detached character à la Big Lebowsky embarked despite himself in a story he does not want and also regularly beaten up by mistake.
WHAT WOOD I USE
Too classic, Waldo, a private detective, manages despite everything to make people forget that he is limited to a kind of exercise in style that succeeds thanks to obvious qualities that give him a surplus of soul. If the investigation in itself is not more clever or sophisticated than the all-comers – as evidenced by its anecdotal outcome -, the writing remains above the average of the whodunit thanks to a catchy rhythm and almost held all long , the film just struggling to breathe new life into its last third.
But it is above all the casting which appears as the transcendent quality of Waldo, private detective , the one which allows him to pass a notch above the average film. Even that old bastard Mel Gibson, who you might think is too old for this bullshit, seems to be sincerely having fun and even laughing at himself.
The Aussie embodies a self-referential role as a whimsical soap-opera star with a ridiculous mustache and an English accent, washed out, quarrelsome and soaked in alcohol, about to be dropped by all of Hollywood. A role that seems to have been more or less tailor- made, for whoever remembers the scandal that the actor caused after The Passion of the Christ … and a certain anti-Semitic crush on a sad drunken evening.
The biggest disappointment, however, will be to be found in the direction of Tim Kirkby , a regular on the small screen who finds himself here quite uninspired. Despite several successful editing effects and a few successful visual gags, the setting and the lighting too often lack character, and one comes to wonder why everything is not filmed like the bar scene between Charlie Hunnam and Lucy Fry , one of the few to try to extirpate Waldo, private detective from his television cachet and to try to make a small aesthetic proposal.
On arrival, if the viewing is undeniably pleasant, one can only wonder what is the raison d’être of this Waldo, private detective , who looks more like a well-packaged business card for all his participants (whether they seek to launch or relaunch) than to a real work designed for artistic purposes. But hey, it’s not every day that reading a resume is so entertaining.