Mel Gibson's new movie Force of Nature has created a major controversy, even before it's been released.
The movie takes place in Puerto Rico during a category 5 hurricane with Gibson playing Ray who, along with his daughter (Kate Bosworth), refuses to evacuate his apartment building during the storm.
As disgraced cop Cardillo (Emile Hirsch) tries to get them to leave, a gang of thieves arrives to carry out a heist, leaving Ray, his daughter and Cardillo to team up to fight them off.
Once the trailer was released on Monday (May 18), Force of Nature created an instant controversy as Puerto Ricans who experienced Hurricane Maria, as well as the struggles they've dealt with on the island, let their feelings known.
â€œApproximately 4,645 people died because of this hurricane. Approximately, because it was bad enough we donâ€™t even have exact numbers," one Twitter user wrote.
"People buried their dead in their backyards. People were without food, water, homes, electricity, for MONTHS. This is not an okay movie."
Others criticised the movie for its 'white saviour' narrative with Gibson's character "fighting a bunch of 'bad guy' ricans also all the good guy cops are white", while another called it "outright disrespectful".
(Warning, the tweets contain fruity language)
Approximately 4,645 people died because of this hurricane. Approximately, because it was bad enough we don't even have exact numbers. People buried their dead in their backyards. People were without food, water, homes, electricity, for MONTHS.
This is not an okay movie to make.
â€” THE FUTURE IS BULLETPROOF (@pielisse007) May 18, 2020
Oh great Mel Gibson is in a movie that takes place during hurricane Maria and itâ€™s filmed in PR and heâ€™s fighting a bunch of â€˜bad guyâ€™ ricans also all the good guy cops are white? Too much to dissect. Cool how an entire islands trauma has turned into an action movie
â€” Melimel (@melilemelii) May 19, 2020
Itâ€™s outright disrespectful to the people who went through the traumatic experience that was Hurricane Maria, for Mel Gibson and any Hollywood company to come to Puerto Rico and make a movie where the islanders are the bad guys, and he and the white people are the good guys.
â€” gile (@mvriegil) May 19, 2020
I'm not Puerto Rican, but that #ForceOfNature movie is fucked up. Not only is it exploiting a recent event that killed thousands, with effects still felt today, it has racist elements and a white main cast. The least they could've done is cast a Puerto Rican lead actor
â€” Toge @VLR (@TogeReturns) May 19, 2020
lmao 3,000 Puerto Ricans died after Hurricane Maria but sure letâ€™s make a D-list movie set during the storm where the gringos are the good guys and the bad drug guys are the islanders, truly fuck offffffffhttps://t.co/8Cv9YWTnhm
â€” Andrea GonzÃ¡lez-RamÃrez (@andreagonram) May 18, 2020
I want to point out that in "Force of Nature" trailer the "hurricane" effects are so shitty and CLEARLY DON'T KNOW HOW A FUCKING HURRICANE LOOKS/WORKS? Take it from a Puerto Rican that lived through cat5 hurricane and was watching how it caused destruction in my apartment complex
â€” â˜†ðŸ’€ Kwarantine Kao ðŸ’€â˜† ðŸ‡µðŸ‡· (@make_it_chibi) May 19, 2020
Journalist Andrew J Padilla also highlighted the injustices of tax breaks in the film industry of Puerto Rico, and how making movies like Force of Nature does not help the local talent.
"Painful to see how tax breaks luring Hollywood films (and jobs) to Puerto Rico can produce films that disappear our very reality," Padilla wrote.
"Trauma Center (2019) starring Bruce Willis, Force of Nature (2020) starring Mel Gibson. What's next? Aftershock (2021) starring Justin Bieber?"
Painful to see how tax breaks luring Hollywood films (and jobs) to Puerto Rico can produce films that disappear our very reality.
"Trauma Center" (2019) staring Bruce Willis
"Force of Nature" (2020) staring Mel Gibson
"AFTERSHOCK" (2021) staring Justin Bieber? https://t.co/fureVyKQIC
â€” Andrew J. Padilla ðŸ‡µðŸ‡· (@apadillafilm6) May 18, 2020
While Force of Nature is set in Puerto Rico during a hurricane, others have pointed out that it's not about Hurricane Maria and is fictional.
But we'll just have to wait and see what the reaction is when Force of Nature arrives on digital, DVD and Blu-ray on June 30.
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