Glossy exploitation cinema without guts, Edge of Darkness (a condensed adaptation of a 1985 British TV miniseries) sets up a scenario for vengeance-driven violence and then backs off, choosing to dawdle when it should be rampaging. Mere hours after his daughter returns home for a visit, detective Thomas Craven (Mel Gibson) watches her get shotgunned down on his front steps by a mysterious assailant. Director Martin Campbell (Casino Royale) stages this execution with stunning impact before spending time on Craven’s unbearable grief over the loss of his only child. In fact, he takes too much time, drawing out his opening act to such an extent that the film never recovers its momentum. Despite a few biblical-themed lines of dialogue that remind one of his distasteful real-world religious opinions, Gibson’s weathered face and browbeaten comportment authentically convey Craven’s hurt and anger. Yet William Monahan and Andrew Bovell’s script gives those emotions no satisfying outlet, teasing us with the notion that Craven is a man who, having lost everything, will do anything to achieve his ends, and then refusing to actually follow through on that suggestion. A convoluted conspiracy involving Danny Huston’s military-related research and development firm, as well as chats with a philosophical government fixer (Ray Winstone), all pad out an inert plot that’s heavy on shadowy machinations – most of which are of a dull sort, save for some national defense spooks’ discussions about the difficulty of achieving viable “containment” – and woefully light on no-holds-barred revenge mayhem.