Fatman (Blu-ray Review)

Fatman came to homes quick as a flash just in time for the holidays.  Reading about the movie was enough for me to think the premise was sort of bat$h** crazy.  Seeing it is a whole ‘nother animal.  If you have your tongue placed firmly in cheek though, you may be pleasantly surprised. Check out more about this “new holiday classic” below and be sure to click the paid link at the end to get your copy! I know I’m a day late (weeks, really) but hopefully my thoughts aren’t a dollar short…


So first, a little background on the film, thanks to this synopsis:

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

Intriguing right? Just as advertised, this is what plays out in the film.  Mel Gibson takes on the role of Chris Cringle in the film.  He is grizzled, not so fat, and still somehow very kind, nice, and cares for those elves of his.  His wife, Ruth (Marianne Jean Baptiste) has Chris’ back and works tirelessly making cookies and keeping things together with her jolly husband.

Then along comes Billy (Chance Herstfeld), the kind of kid once wonderful in 90’s films that’s sour and frustrating now, and he hires his retained hitman (Walton Goggins) for the job. Before long, we see just why the hitman finds this particular job to be so special. The assassin (listed in the credits as Skinny Man…) only received a gift from Kringle once and has been burned by it ever since. So, very much, this time it’s personal. shows up to scowl and act well beyond his youth.  This is one of many cliches that pops up throughout the short run-time.  Where the film is fresh is in the portrayal of the holiday season.  People are salty, unsavory and generally nasty overall. This is the kind of mood those who are sour on Christmas will likely love.

Fatman is a film that I’m sort of divided on. On one hand it’s kind of cool to see a grizzled “real world” Santa who America relies on to keep the economy going. It’s also cool to see Santa hit punching bags, crack wise and take no BS from people who have issues with him. What’s not so cool is that this film has a tonal shift issue. It can’t decide whether it’s going for comedy, camp or seriousness. The main cast all do their thing well though. Despite his personal issues, Mel Gibson still commands a screen very well and having him matched with Marianne Jean Baptiste is a really nice touch. They have a good rapport throughout and support one another with great performances. Goggins as always embodies his role with everything. He continues to be a phenomenal character actor. Young Chance Herstfeld is quite good too, although his character type is an over cooked Kevin McCallister.


Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: Fatman is on par with a 2020 Blu-ray release.  The image overall is sharp and detailed. Santa’s homestead is snowy white outside and full of gorgeous detailing inside.  The elaborate mansion of the little brat is also rife with detail.  There is no softness to be seen in this film.

Depth: Depth is handled here with a very steady hand.  Foreground and backgrounds are all distinguished and look great throughout.  The film hasn’t got a whole lot of “look at the scale of this thing!” moments but what’s there looks just right for the content of the film.

Black Levels: Blacks look excellent in this presentation.  There are no dull blacks, and the overall look dictates that in the warmer interior scenes, the darkness should be integral.  This adds a grit to the presentation that helps the overall tone of the film in fact.

Color Reproduction: Colors are still of the holiday variety.  Golden tones and warm reds are apparent throughout.  Cringle himself always has a warm look to his wardrobe and those colors all pop. Greens show up nicely too and the snowy nature of the locations is wintry white perfection.

Flesh Tones: Nice and natural throughout, nobody looks painted and pretty. Cringle and his wife are a bit haggard and the elves are a motley crew of tones.  The bratty kid looks fresh faced and clean and there has been no facial scrubbing digitally.  Nice looking tones throughout.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD MA 5.1,

Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics:  This is a thoroughly modern mix with clear dialogue, music cues and sound effects.  The surrounds engage the whole film and the music sounds full and lively too.  Where things lack in the dynamics area would be the low end, but that even is nothing to scoff at.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension:  Some gunshots, car engines and music cues carry some bass.  This isn’t a floor rumbler like most modern blockbusters, but the subwoofer does the trick when needed.

Surround Sound Presentation:  The sounds of ambient nature, elf chatter and factory noise come through in the surrounds most of all.  Occasional action comes through in the appropriate scenes as well.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue is perfectly placed for the entirety of the film.


Fatman comes home with a digital code and slipcover.  The extras are basic, but there doesn’t need to be a deep dive for this film in my humble opinion. Extras are:

Audio Commentary by Actor Mel Gibson, Directors Eshom Nelms and Ian Nelms, Producer Michelle Lang, and Cinematographer Johnny Derango

12 Minutes of Deleted Scenes (1080p) All with optional commentary, these wouldn’t be missed at all in the final film, so it’s fitting they went straight to the cutting room floor.

Storyboard to Film Comparison with Director’s Commentary (1080p) about ten minutes in total, these are interesting for those interested in the technique the director used in creating his shots.


Overall, Fatman will never be the “new holiday classic” that it was touted as in marketing. It will be one of those B grade movies we hear about that won’t be widely seen. A sleeper if there ever was one, Fatman is a rent before you buy kind of film and one that I’m not personally sure warrants a second viewing.


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