Film Review – Blood Father (2016)

Blood Father Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson as Link in Blood Father

Blood Father

Directed by Jean-François Richet

Written by Peter Craig, Andrea Berloff

Starring Mel Gibson, Erin Moriarty, Michael Parks, William H. Macy, Diego Luna

Review by Jordan

“When you owe your life to somebody, you better make sure you live it”

An anarchic, full-throttle and old-school tale of vigilantism and revenge reminiscent of its ‘70’s forefathers and steered by the stern face of gruff determination that Mel Gibson has made all his own in a now-volatile career, Blood Father is the surprise packet of 2016, unfolding its plot as it motors down the dusty desert highway to the Californian Badlands and never flinching when the trip gets rocky.

When Lydia (Moriarty), the recently missing, drug-addled teenage daughter of ex-con Link (Gibson) phones him out of the blue in need of help for fear of her life, the now sober, trailer park tattoo artist with a weathered face as cracked as the desert floor accepts the challenge that will almost certainly see him back behind bars. Having shot her gangland boyfriend and left him for dead, she is hunted by the cartel, who soon also want the head of her protective father as his killer instincts go into overdrive in a bid to make amends for being replaced by three stepfathers when it should’ve been him.

Presented in a punchy, refreshingly linear fashion by director Jean-François Richet (2005’s Assault on Precinct 13), his film captures all of the magnificent danger and griminess required to feel genuine; the real deal: a quick-fire exploitation treat complete with short shorts, motorcycle chases and bullets galore. Side characters, lead by washed-up sociopath and Neo-Nazi Preacher (the scene-stealing, dialogue chewing Michael Parks), flesh out an insular world created solely for the thrills therein, with Link’s neighbor and sponsor Kirby (William H. Macy) his friend and moral compass, and Jonah (Diego Luna) a suitably desperate villain.

Sitting exactly where it should be, on a derelict bar stool with peeling vinyl as far from high art as possible, Blood Father plays within its confines and duly entertains, and as good as Moriarty is, this is Gibson’s show. The actor, so long out of public consciousness for his ability, shows in such a surprising vehicle his commanding ability as a leading man, and just like Link it would take a braver person than I to question how far he now takes this.

4 neighbourhood watch patrols out of 5

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14 responses to “Film Review – Blood Father (2016)

  1. Is this film similar to Man on Fire? The grizzled veteran seeks redemption by protecting a young girl and risking his life? It sort of sounds like it. I would like to see it. I enjoy the supporting cast. William H. Macy, Diego Luna, and Michael Parks. Mr. Parks was incredibly disturbing in Tusk while he was chewing the scenery. Looking forward to this film.

    • Hmm, I think it would definitely appeal to a similar audience, only Blood Father does have a sense of humour and a brisk running time, and never intends to be taken as seriously.
      His performance in Tusk might’ve been the only good thing about that movie; his character name of Preacher here instantly brings back memories of his role in Red State.
      Jordan

      • Oh yes! Red State. How could I forget about that movie? He was also good in Twin Peaks. I am not certain but I think he may be coming back for the 2017 reboot. I will keep my eyes open for Blood Father. Thanks for your reviews!

  2. Good review and a solid action flick.
    Enjoyed every minute of seeing mel gibson back on the big screen and hope this is the start of a gibson revival to a household name again in hollywood.

    Thanks jordan and eddie for the free tickets

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