Ransom 2: Jimmy Shaker Day [The attempted comeback of Mel Gibson]
‘It’s 15 years later, the family’s safe, the airline’s doing well, the kidnappers from the first movie are all dead…or are they? Short answer, no, they’re not. Title. Ransom 2. Jimmy Shaker Day. I see your faces, why Jimmy Shaker day? An in-joke, a nod to the audience, the one great line from the first movie, rebirthed and upgraded to tagline. People see that title, they know what’s what. But how can it be Jimmy Shaker day when Gary Sinise’s already dead? Well, maybe he isn’t. Did anyone actually see him die? What? The whole street? Delroy Lindo? Who? Oh, the black guy. Yeah. But also no. Did he see what he thinks he saw? No, he didn’t. See, Jimmy Shaker was a smart guy, he knew what was going down. And that’s why he let himself get shot. And held his breath. But did we see the autopsy? No. Because it never happened. The Jimmy Shaker who got taken to the morgue, that wasn’t really him. Who was it? The girl, his piece of ass, the one he shot who wasn’t so great-looking anyway. Remember? What? No, not Rene Russo. She’s gone, she’s nothing. In fact, the wife role, I think we can get someone younger. Russian maybe? No, wait…Jewish. A Jew. And me and the…Mel and the Jew, they have this beautiful relationship that just…it lights up the screen, man, it really does. Or it will do when we play it…when they play it, I mean.’
Mel Gibson reached up and pulled the cap on his head further down and pushed up the beard he’d bought from the pirate store.
For the last seven months Mel Gibson had not only hidden from the media, he’d hidden from the furniture in his house.
The only thing in the mansion he trusted was the living room rug.
He would stretch out as tall and wide as he could on the floor and put the rug on top of himself and pray the couch wouldn’t inform the press.
A phone rings.
DANNY GLOVER: Yup?
MEL GIBSON: Hey Rog, how’s tricks?
DANNY GLOVER: Riggs?
MEL GIBSON: Yup. The sane version, I swear.
DANNY GLOVER: Sane, huh? Well, I saw some of the publicity you’ve been doing the last year or so…
MEL GIBSON: Pretty far out, right?
DANNY GLOVER: You’re not wrong, brother. You…are…not…wrong.
MEL GIBSON: What did you think of it all?
DANNY GLOVER: Messy.
MEL GIBSON: No other thoughts?
DANNY GLOVER: Well, I think you’ve just killed my only ever franchise.
MEL GIBSON: Me? Come on, Rog, they were never serious about a ‘5’.
DANNY GLOVER: What do you want, Riggs?
MEL GIBSON: Ah, nothing.
DANNY GLOVER: …
MEL GIBSON: Say, you still got that tennis racket you used to play with?
DANNY GLOVER: That old thing? Nah…it’s long gone. I think my son ate it.
MEL GIBSON: You wanna go buy a new one? Maybe me and you go down the courts and have a knockaround?
DANNY GLOVER: I don’t think that’s such a good idea.
MEL GIBSON: Come on, Rog…
DANNY GLOVER: Shit, Riggs…
MEL GIBSON: I saved your family, man. Remember that? Busey, on the garden lawn, the sprinklers…I beat the shit out of him. No? Fuck, man, he was gonna kill your kids. He was gonna gut those little…and I saved them, Rog, I saved them. And now you won’t even play a goddamn game of tennis with me?
DANNY GLOVER: Listen, I gotta go. Sidney Poitier’s coming over, and I told him I wasn’t talking to you anymore.
MEL GIBSON: Come on, Rog…Poitier? You don’t even like that guy…
DANNY GLOVER: I don’t have to like him, that’s not how it works. I just have to bow and stare a little, that’s all. Denzel does it too. It’s tradition, Riggs. That dude made a path for all us…
MEL GIBSON: Fuck, Rog, all I remember is that Jackal movie…
DANNY GLOVER: See ya, Riggs.
Danny Glover hangs up.
Mel Gibson calls his phone a traitor and throws it against the mansion wall. He shouts, he cries, he drinks. Then he picks up his mask, ‘Mel Gibson Face 1996’, and puts it on his face. Then returns to his rug.
Two year earlier…
Mel ran around his garden like the guy from Apocalypto.
He told Jodie Foster to pick up the axe and chase him, then he’d read her script. She said no, but could she tell him about the script anyway?
It started to rain.
Mel held out his hand and told her to pick up the axe and attack, and fast, as his family was going to drown.
He told her about the day before, how he’d dug a hole over in the corner of this very same garden and lowered his girlfriend down on a piece of string.
He pointed to the corner of the garden.
‘She’s still down there?’
An hour later and Jodie had pulled the girlfriend out. Mel hadn’t helped at all. He’d been too busy hitting a cardboard cut-out of the bad guy from Apocalypto with the axe.
When he’d killed the cut-out, Jodie told him about the script.
‘I think it’s right for you, Mel, I really do.’
Mel thought about it.
‘Will I have to go to dark places,’ he asked.
‘Yes. But…but it won’t be you, it’ll be the beaver.’
‘That’s great news.’
‘But I should warn you…’
‘There’s a pretty big chance I’m gonna destroy your movie from the inside out.’
Mel Gibson walked onto the golf course with fake Japanese eyes and hippy hair. He found the boss-man on the thirteenth hole and continued his pitch:
‘So you’ve got all the ingredients…Mel, new wife, older kid, and Jimmy Shaker. What’s the story? Ha, that’s the best part. See, in the first movie, Mel was a real asshole, the kind of guy who’d sell his own son down the river just so he wouldn’t be weak. But this time, we’re gonna humanise the man. We’re gonna weaken him, show him fragile, on his knees. And Jimmy Shaker, he’s gonna play the devil, man. First five minutes we’ve got me…sorry, Mel…going round his apartment making sure there’s no booze lying around, and then we switch to Jimmy Shaker who’s sitting in a basement or something, making a poster saying, ‘Jimmy Shaker Day’…and maybe we scan round the table and see a few other posters he’s made, maybe ‘death to all Jews’ or something…that way we can set up the wife part later, the big holy shit , did they just kill the Jewish wife twist…and then after the poster scene, we’ve got Jimmy Shaker kidnapping my…I mean, Mel’s kid, and straight away we get the black cop back and all his team, and he’s asking what we gonna do, what we gonna do…and Mel looks at him, with genuine human kindness and feeling and equality, you know, a real, bonafied everyman hero type, and he says, ‘I won’t put my kid in danger, pay the money.’ And the money gets paid, and the kid comes back, but then the next scene, and through the whole rest of the movie, you’ve got Shaker taking the kid, getting the money, taking the kid, getting more money, and each time it gets more and more emotional until…after all this shit builds up, he comes in and kills the wife, the holy shit Jew, and…that’s it right there, the crux of it. And after that it’s Mel going primal, real vengeance shit all in…but this time it’s for all the right reasons…everyone knows he’s been pushed so it makes the most perfect sense in the world…and then, last third of the movie, it’s Mel vs Jimmy Shaker, the showdown…hero vs villain, good vs evil, everyman vs jew-hating, racist scumlord that is Jimmy Shaker. Does it have it all? Of course it does, in spades. Wife dies, kid taken dozens of times, put-upon hero. Bam, you’ve got emotion, bam, you’ve got the audience on your side. Bam, you’ve got yourself the comebacks of all comebacks of all comebacks! What do you think?’
Mel looked around and realised the boss-man wasn’t there. He checked the other holes in the distance but he wasn’t there either. No one was. The only thing nearby was the flagpole. He shrugged, reached forward and stroked the number thirteen on the flag.
‘What do you think?’
The flagpole didn’t seem impressed.
In 1982, before the release of Mad Max, Mel rode his horse out into the Australian desert and got himself lost.
After three days of seeing no one, he finally came across a cauldron tended to by three witches.
He nodded and said hello.
They ignored him.
He asked what they were doing there.
They told him it was a local production of King Lear.
He asked them if he would be a king or something in the future.
They said no.
He asked if anything bad would happen to him.
Yes, they said. You will drop yourself in deep shit sometime around the year 2006, and again in 2010.
He asked if there was anything he could do to avoid it.
Yes, they said. Learn to distrust the Jews.
He asked what was wrong with the Jews.
Everything, they said.
He thanked them for their advice and rode on, eventually finding his way out of the desert and safely back home.