An ex-con is pulled into an escalating situation with the cartel after his estranged teenage daughter shows up on his doorstep asking for help.
Blood Father (2016)
Directed by Jean-François Richet
Written by Peter Craig and Andrea Berloff
Starring Mel Gibson, Erin Moriarty, Diego Luna,
William H. Macy, Michael Parks, Dale Dickey, Raoul Max Trujillo,
Miguel Sandoval, Richard Cabral, Daniel Moncada, Ryan Dorsey
Based on the novel by Peter Craig
Never before have I seen a movie that is essentially one giant apology for an actor's overblown ego. Blood Father is the movie that reminded film fans everywhere that Mel Gibson is still trying to win back their adoration, or at the very least their attention. Surprisingly, I think he pulled it off. His turn as ex-con John Link is one of his best in years. Hilariously, his role in the film starts at an AA meeting where he is apologizing for his past drunken antics and announces that he is a better person now that he's sobered up. It's going to take a lot more great movies to make people forget about Mel "The Jews are responsible for all the world's wars" Gibson and his drunken, anti-Semitic raving but I think he is genuinely trying to make amends. This film is a good start.
I enjoy crime films dealing with Mexican cartels, and this one very much felt like Sicario mixed with Lethal Weapon. I was impressed with the characters. They felt real and unaltered. This is a rare thing to accomplish, but I believed that everybody was who they said they were. Gibson gave it his all for this one, hoping that it would give his career a much-needed boost. I think time will tell, but I'd bet money he's back on the right track. Jessica Jones alum Erin Moriarty played his estranged daughter Lydia, who was unlikable at first due to her motives and bad choices but grew to be a strong character as the film progressed. I enjoyed Diego Luna's performance as the villain Jonah, and Michael Parks as Preacher, the neo-Nazi collector who was stuck in the past. Overall, a solid cast for a realistic crime thriller.
Blood Father deals heavily in themes of family and legacy. It also desperately wants you to believe in Mel Gibson. I think the film accomplishes both in the end. It doesn't end like every cartel thriller before it, with the epic shootout and a grisly end for the villain. Instead, it's a subtle ending, a whimper not a bang. Yet, it's still effective in capping off a believable story. Blood Father is the first of many Mel Gibson comeback vehicles, and I think that if he continues on this path, he'll be back in the spotlight. Hopefully, he keeps the crazy, racist s**t to himself this time.