Starring Mel Gibson, Erin Moriarty, Diego Luna, William H. Macy, Michael Parks, Dale Dickey
In the first of two potential comeback vehicles for disgraced Oscar winner Mel Gibson, Blood Father is a throwback to cheesy 90’s action flicks. “You can’t be a prick all your life and then just say never-mind,” Gibson’s character says. In the film’s opening moments, featuring our beef jerky skinned, main character in group therapy rehab, Gibson’s own life choices seem to be the punch line. Director Jean-François Richet understands the risk, controversy and disinterest that is likely to come along with this film. It which will have a limited theatrical run and then tumble direct to video on demand. In fact, Richet embraces the trashy nature of the genre and circumstances which make Blood Father mildly enjoyable.
For years John Link (Gibson) has searched for his daughter after she disappeared at age 14 from her mother’s house. Through his time in prison, probation, even now, living in the deserts of Southern California, he stares at her wanted photos. Lydia (Moriarty) now a full blown criminal, drug addict and girlfriend to one of the most dangerous men in the Mexican cartel, has made a mistake and her father is the only person she can trust. Reunited at last, after living clean for so long, Link is thrust back into a disruptive lifestyle and in the faces of the people who put him in his very predicament. “You have the mindset of a battered housewife,” Link scoff at his daughter. Given the second chance he always hoped for, Link will once again help shape his daughter’s future.
Richet embraces the trashy nature of the genre and circumstances which make Blood Father mildly enjoyable.
There are a handful of explosive moments in the film, but none more well delivered than the assault on Link’s trailer which doubles as a business and living space. As the washed up action star attempts to resist returning gunfire as long as possible, he hurls insults out the window into oncoming gunfire until his patience runs out. “This kid is a carnival. She’s every loser’s lucky day,” Link confesses to his sponsor (Macy) in a moment of weakness. The script, based on the novel and screenplay by Peter Craig, seems tailored for Gibson’s circumstance and acting behavioral qualities. It’s a redemption role, a forced comeback, with the once highest paid actor, winking at the audience the entire time.
Blood Father well test the willingness of society and industry’s feelings on a potential resurgence of Gibson. The Braveheart director’s name doesn’t appear anywhere on the new trailer for Hacksaw Ridge (Nov 4th), his first time behind the camera since 2006’s Apocalypto. Blood Father, which ironically debuted at Cannes, aims for the lowest common denominator crowd, the viewers who could care less what Gibson did or said, as long as he entertains them for two hours. Hacksaw Ridge will be the real test for Gibson, as it’s already being primed as an Oscar contender. In the meantime, Blood Father will satisfy audiences grindhouse cravings with violence and lots of profanity.
Gibson returns in a cheesy 90’s era comeback sarcastic action flick that’s more guilty pleasure than anything.