"Fatman" (2020) | Sam Gall Movie Review Issue #87 Gem Mint 10.0


“Fatman“ (2020)

Director: Eshom Nelms, Ian Nelms

Writer: Eshom Nelms, Ian Nelms

Starring: Mel Gibson, Walton Goggins, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Chance Hurstfield

Rated: R for bloody violence, and language

Runtime: 1h 40min

Genre: Action, Comedy, Fantasy

Country: UK | Canada | USA

Language: English


"A rowdy, unorthodox Santa Claus is fighting to save his declining business. Meanwhile, Billy, a neglected and precocious 12 year old, hires a hitman to kill Santa after receiving a lump of coal in his stocking."

You might like this if you like: Action Movies, Comedies, Christmas Movies, Dark Comedies, Mel Gibson Movies, Walton Goggins, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Chance Hurstfield


Mel Gibson in "Fatman" (2020)


I’d heard about this film from this person or that person, never saw an ad, until one evening when my Aunt Laurie asked me about it. I hadn’t seen it, but she mentioned how excited she was to watch it. She mentioned it to my Dad (her brother) and his fiancé Kelly, so we made plans to watch it together that night. Leading up the screening, I decided I’d check out the trailer first to see what I was in for. To be fair, I scrubbed through not trying to pay too much attention as I’d already committed to watching it, but couldn’t help but laugh that my Aunt Laurie, Dad and Kelly were interested in this dark comedy action flick.

To my sweet surprise, I enjoyed the hell out of this movie! My dad and Kelly enjoyed it! My dad in particular, but my Aunt Laurie was NOT as big of a fan as she thought she would be haha. I get it, it’s not for all, frankly I didn’t expect my dad or Kelly to enjoy it, even myself.


"Fatman" (2020)

I went in not loving the latest version of Mel Gibson, haven’t really watched anything new of his, every once in awhile I’ll throw on “Mad Max” (1979) or “Braveheart” (1995) though. Seeing him in this crazy setup of a film, playing an R-Rated, grizzled Santa Claus was all I needed. Gibson really impressed me with this one. Finally something he could maybe make a come-back from.


Walton Goggins has been a longtime favorite actor ranging from his work with Quentin Tarantino, Danny McBride and David Gordon Green, and “Ant-Man and the Wasp” (2018). And yes, I know I still need to watch “The Shield” and “Justified” shows.


Walton Goggins in "Fatman" (2020)


Seeing a dark, comedic twist on not just Christmas but Santa Claus was really fresh. You could argue Billy Bob Thornton’s “Bad Santa” (2003) as a competitor but what I enjoyed about “Fatman” (2020) was that it still had a whole lot of Christmas fantasy (aka the sled, reindeer, and other minor impossible feats) yet it felt like.. possibly the most believable version of Santa Claus I could imagine.

Two kids, yes I’m including Walton Goggin’s character, who’ve been hurt by Santa Claus’ way and want revenge. Justice. Definitely feels close to what I would imagine a Tarantino or Shane Black’s version of a Santa Claus movie would be. Which is exactly what I want.


Marianne Jean-Baptiste (left) & Mel Gibson (right) in "Fatman" (2020)

Speaking of that kid, Chance Hurstfield, who I knew from “Good Boys” (2019), really did a terrific job! Marianne Jean-Baptiste was a true gem. She really added a layer to this film that I don’t think would’ve worked without her. One of my mom’s favorite shows was “Without a Trace” and Jean-Baptiste was one of the ensemble cast members as Vivian Johnson. It was nice to see her again, bringing back sweet memories of watching that show with my mom.


Marianne Jean-Baptiste (left) & Mel Gibson (right) in "Fatman" (2020)


Action packed, hilarious with lovely “WTF” moments like that hamster which I absolutely loved, badass and full of Christmas joy and spirit. Mel Gibson and Walton Goggins are fantastic in this dark comedy, Christmas film! Many props to the Nelms brothers for creating this crazy, snow filled fun of a film!


Written by Sam Gall on 12/17/20


CGC Grading: Gem Mint 10.0


"I don't know what I was expecting, but I was not expecting to say Fatman is a good time." - Jeremy Jahns, JeremyJahns.com


"Gibson's grumpy performance (his best work in years) coupled with a smart script by directors Ian Nelms and Eshom Nelms make this a fun holiday production." - Rick Bentley, Tribune News Service


"A fun, oddly endearing, and action-fueled delight." - Rob Hunter, Film School Rejects


"A satisfyingly twisted yuletide revenge thriller, laced with equal parts Christmas cheer and bloody violence, that giddily turns any number of holiday tropes on their head." - Mike Scott, Times-Picayune


"This ridiculous premise works, when it works at all, off the unique presence that is Walton Goggins, but it's a genuine surprise that Mel Gibson is still able to transcend how tarnished his screen persons has been by his real life antics." - Dominic Griffin, The Armchair Auteur


Official Trailer:


Behind the Scenes:


Available on various VOD platforms


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