Fatman stars Mel Gibson as Santa Claus in the modern world. Tired, disillusioned, and grumpy but still cares deeply. After getting into trouble with the IRS he has to put the elves to work filling a contract with the US Government. You know, that old chestnut.

Meanwhile, a spoiled and mean little bastard who didn’t get what he wanted has hired an expert hitman to kill Santa for giving him a lump of coal for Christmas. The hitman has his own grudge against Santa from his childhood and is obsessed with Santa and getting revenge.

Sounds silly? Yes, but Fatman is treated seriously with real pathos and character development. There is little of the boring hipster irony in this one. Like the Christmas horror, Rare Exports, this one is treated correctly.

Of course, there is humor in it, and it’s done properly. The film is heavy on black comedy, but again, the subject is played straight.

Walton Goggins plays the hitman. He is the best part of the movie. He is mean, nasty, and snarky to everyone. Very cool. The kind of bad guy you love to watch. Kind of like the bad guy in No Country For Old Men, where the bad guy is maybe even more interesting than the protagonists.

The end is violent and bloody. No, it’s not a Wild Bunch-level shoot-out ending, but it’s worth it. You get to see Goggins go on a slaughter rampage and Santa dual-wield a 1911 and a Colt Walker.

I saw this when it first came out and it has become a yearly holiday must-watch movie for me.

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