Box-office forecasters are giving Mel Gibson little chance of knocking Avatar from its No. 1 perch this weekend. Gibson is returning to the screen after eight years in Warner Bros.' Edge of Darkness. But some critics are suggesting that it's as if he had never left -- so similar is the role he occupies here to ones he has in the past. "Another dead kid. Another angry dad. Another day at the office," A.O. Scott remarks in the New York Times. Comments Elizabeth Weitzman in the New York Daily News , "There's little difference between this Gibson and the one we remember from earlier films like Ransom and Payback. Which is, no doubt, exactly as he'd like it." Indeed, most critics give Gibson straight As for his performance. "Top notch," Claudia Puig calls it in USA Today . He's "an actor to be reckoned with," says Lou Lumenick in the New York Post. By and large the film itself receives much admiration. "A crime drama that's exciting in the moment and that lingers in the mind" is the way Mick LaSalle describes it in the San Francisco Chronicle . Writes Bruce DeMara in the Toronto Star "Despite its nearly two-hour running time, Edge of Darkness never feels padded or drawn out, thanks to [director Martin] Campbell's breakneck pace, a surfeit of nasty villains and a plot filled with plenty of unforeseen twists and turns." And Michael Phillips in the Chicago Tribune concludes that while the film could have used a few more twists or complications, it does offer "craftsmanship and low, brute, cunning satisfactions." Michael O'Sullivan in the Washington Post puts it more succinctly "It ain't art, but it serves its purpose."