Blood Father

Posted: October 12, 2016 in Film reviews
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Directed by Jean-François Richet. Starring Mel Gibson, Erin Moriarty and William H Macy.

blood-father

People were undecided about the Terminator 2 remake

John Link (Gibson) is an ex-con who’s trying to go straight. After nine years in prison he’s managed to stay sober for two years with the help of his sponsor, Kirby (Macy). He’s living in a rundown trailer park earning a living as a tattoo artist. Everything is going fine until he receives a call from his daughter Lydia (Moriarty). Lydia ran away from home when she was fourteen and Link hasn’t seen her since. Now Lydia is in trouble, she’s just shot her drug dealer boyfriend and the cartel want her dead, with nowhere else to turn only her estranged father can help her.

Can Link keep his daughter safe, even if it risks him winding up back in prison, and will Lydia reconnect with her father, or is she just using him as a means to an end? And just why are the cartel so interested in vengeance?

 

There’s a very straight-to-video feel about Blood Father, which isn’t necessarily a negative, this is a pure B-movie and it knows it. Still it’s sobering (sorry) to remember a time when Gibson was one of the biggest movie stars on the planet, not to mention a noted director, but, much like his character John Link, Gibson has battled his demons and one can only hope has won. Now he seems to be rebuilding his career one film at a time, still one can’t imagine he would have made Blood Father 20 years ago.

Which isn’t to say this is a bad film, it’s just a bit average. The story is fairly generic and the film doesn’t really go anywhere you wouldn’t expect a film like this to go, which is kind of the point of a B-movie, but still it left me wanting more. There are a few decent action scenes, but on the whole I felt a little cheated in the gun battle/fistfight stakes. What raises this above mediocre is the cast. Macy has always been great and he have a wonderful chemistry with Gibson, it’s just a shame he isn’t in the film more. As Lydia Moriarty makes her irritating enough to annoy us, but just the right side of redeemable that we don’t really want to see her horribly murdered, and she’s allowed to mellow as the film progresses thankfully. As one of Link’s former associates Michael Parks does that wild eyed quiet menace he’s done so often for Tarantino, less impressive is Diego Luna as the bad guy, who isn’t given any character beyond being a low rent Vincent Cassel.

It’s Gibson who holds the film together though, and Gibson whose presence lifts mundane material to something that approaches (even if it never quite reaches) above average. I recall watching Expendables 3 and noting that, much as I love Arnie and co, it’s obvious how much better actors Gibson and Harrison Ford were, and Gibson is again on good form here. His broken father has echoes of his real life issues, yet Link is still the kind of character you want to root for. He handles the action with aplomb, and still has a great delivery for the more comedic lines. And he plays haunted exceptionally well, especially when he’s trying to sober his daughter up and stop her making the same mistakes as him.

The plot’s wafer thin, and as a result the film tends to meander at times, and the big gun battle you always imagine you’re on the cusp of seeing sadly never arrives. At times it’s very sharp and funny, but too often the film treads water to the extent that even its sparse run time seems a little too long.

Not necessarily one to avoid, but not something likely to end up in your DVD collection either, but if nothing else it proves that Mel Gibson is still a force to be reckoned with.

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Comments
  1. Mel Gibson has made such an arse of himself over the years, I simply cannot watch films with him in. (Johnny Depp is rapidly veering into the same territory.) I’m sure as much as his acting made him a star, being Mel Gibson offscreen hasn’t helped his box-office draw.

  2. starkers70 says:

    I know what you mean, but I think other people have done things as bad and been given a way back.

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