Blood Father Movie Review
As a guy that’s closer to being the “old guy” than the “young guy”, I like it when the old guys take over an action movie. Unfortunately, for every TAKEN or JOHN WICK out there, we get a few TAKEN 3’s or THE NOVEMBER MAN’s to remind us action movies might be a young man’s game. But we forget about Mel Gibson. His exile from Hollywood (I’ll let you decide if it was fair or not) removed one of the best tough guy actors of any generation and BLOOD FATHER was a great way to remind everyone how great Mel Gibson can be when he’s angry and a little crazy. And no, the irony is not lost on me.
BLOOD FATHER has a very basic plot; Lydia (Moriarty) is a young girl caught up with a dangerous drug runner and things go wrong when she shoots Jonah (Luna) and finds herself being tracked down by various bad guys. Desperate for help, she reaches out to her ex-con father, Link (Gibson), who is now living in a trailer park, trying to stay sober and away from the life that put him in prison. It doesn’t take long for the bad guys to track her and her father down and together they go on the run.
The simple plot and B-movie feel work well for BLOOD FATHER, but the real reason the film is enjoyable is because of Mel Gibson. This is the closest he’s come to playing Martin Riggs since LETHAL WEAPON 4, complete with the over the top anger and mumbling under the breath. In fact, you could have easily made a few tweaks and called this LETHAL WEAPON 5. Danny Glover could have stepped in for William H. Macy, who was filling the role of being the sensible counter to Gibson’s anger. I know Riggs when I see him and Link is Riggs. I’m joking, kind of, but I thought it was great to see Mel Gibson back in action in a Riggs-like character. His personal drama aside, Gibson is still one of the most captivating actors of his generation.
BLOOD FATHER does tend to stumble when it comes to the action, or lack of. There were plenty of opportunities to give Link a gun and have him own the bad guys, but those instances were too often passed up for a chance to get him running again. He looked like a tough guy (ex-con, tattoos, muscles) and I really wanted to see him bash more heads. The action we did get was fine, but we needed more and I wanted to see director Jean-Francois Richet go all out and give us some cool, action-filled moments.
Missed action opportunities aside, I had a blast with BLOOD FATHER. Mel Gibson and Erin Moriarty had good chemistry and their father-daughter relationship felt authentic. Link is a great character and the screenwriters did a great job of making him human and giving him a nice backstory that slowly unraveled through the course of the film. The villains were pretty cookie-cutter, but they served the purpose of putting our two heroes on the run.
BLOOD FATHER isn’t anything we haven’t seen before, but it works well, mainly because of how great Mel Gibson is. He pulls out his old bag of Riggs tricks to deliver a fun, intense story of a father trying to protect his daughter. Hopefully, this is just the start of the Gibson come back tour.