Blood Father | Review

Mad Mel is back and it’s about bloody time. BLOOD FATHER releases today in Australia, and sadly only on a limited art-house release, this is not the place for our Mad Mel! Following his shenanigans to insult the Jewish people of the planet, while pissed off his brains, Mel has faded into relative obscurity. I truly try my hardest not to give a shit about his personal life and as for his films, they are some of the greatest ever made. But when you work in Hollywood and you piss off the Jewish members of Hollywood, basically adios amigos. With his appearances in a few B-Grade action movies over the last two years, and now BLOOD FATHER, is Mel on the comeback? God knows, so many in Hollywood are up to their 30th chances, it is time for one of my heroes to get the same.

BLOOD FATHER released from Icon Films, is rated MA15+ and runs for a mere 88mins. Considering he spends this movie protecting a family member and the movie runs for 88mins, it is ironic that this is the same basic plot line and exact running length of MAD MAX. BLOOD FATHER should have been called, THE REDEMPTION.

BY JASON KING

BLOOD FATHER SYNOPSIS:

Link (Mel Gibson) is an ex-con. He was into a lot of drugs, crime and alcohol and is now a recovering alcoholic living in the ass end of the earth. He is full grizzly Adams in appearance and lives a life of solace. Link runs a tattoo studio out of his run down (no-longer) mobile home. His daughter has been missing for years and over these years since getting out of the clink he has spent a majority amount of time looking for her. He lives life straight and narrow and doesn’t want to do anything that can jeopardise his freedom.

In another state in the U.S. Link’s daughter, Lydia (Erin Moriarty) is mixing with some seriously bad types. Her lover Jonah (Diego Luna) is the son of a Mexican Cartel drug lord of the nastiest type. Jonah is taking too many drugs himself and living the life of a spoiled drug cartel youth and he wants his girlfriend to be as bad as his posse. He gets Lydia to do some bad things under the influence of cocaine and loving. Things go a little south for Lydia and she is on the run, it has been too many years and in a drugged up desperation calls Daddy dearest and pleads for a bail out.

Link hits the road to get his daughter and from here we end up in a chase buddy movie Western of a sort.

 

Blood Father Erin Moriarty as Lydia image

 

Initial thoughts:

BLOOD FATHER is one entertaining ride. Jean-François Richet has given us a modern day movie that looks and feels more like an 80s, or even 90s, movie. The plot is basic with limited depth of what movies try to achieve these days. Father loves daughter, father has done bad and does not want to be put back into a world of crime, daughter is a chip off the block, drug lords want to kill, hit the road, bang bang, roll credits. And I am fine with this because it works a treat. Besides some gaping believability issues I had with a couple of things this is Mel back in a movie suited to what we love about him.

Richet is best known for his French MESRINE movies starring Vincent Cassel but also his first English film, the remake of ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13. He has crafted the perfect return vehicle for Mel. Who basically just channels his Max Rockatansky character. When BLOOD FATHER does hit high gear, it is basically Max Rockatansky meets Bryan Mills (TAKEN), no questions, lots of dead, some epic dead I might add, and everything  will be done to protect and save his daughter. Additionally he wants to redeem himself being such a shit father.

The movie is actually based on the novel of the same name from Peter Craig, it was published in early 2005. Craig came on board and wrote the screenplay for this. I can see some nuanced chunks missing from the book, something I will be acquiring to read the story for, because the story is good pulp fiction.

 

Blood Father Mel Gibson as Link image

 

That acting though:

Gibson nails it. I was ecstatic to be back with this guy onscreen, there were moments of goosebumps. Especially when his little comic asides pop out with that little edge of total batshit crazy. Link doesn’t fuck around, he is a straight talking guy who wants to be clean. Additionally Mel’s look is even perfect, his weathered and lined face, the messy hair and that beard is perfect. It says rough life, it says a hard man and it bloody well suits him. He has a bad past and is trying to make amends for it. The character and the actor.

The overwhelming irony seeing Link/Gibson in an AA meeting at the start of the movie and spilling the line “You can’t be a prick all your life; I can’t fix everything I broke; all I can do is not drink.” I nearly stood and cheered. Is this the movie Mel forgives himself and moves on, now back to some seriously epic shit? My Max I hope so!!!

Erin Moriarty as his daughter wasn’t quite up to the level of Mel on the acting front. It is possible it was the character that annoyed me more but I just failed to connect with her on any level. She ran away and has been missing for a very long time. She got herself in some heavy shit so let’s get daddy to sort it out, the guy who has been looking for you for years. The character was weak and not fleshed out well enough. Held back by a two dimensional storyline and basically just showing up for each scene.

Supporting brilliance:

Diego Luna was fun as the also two dimensional spoiled cartel son. He reminded me of bad guys from all the 80s shows. William H. Macy is always impressive, his Kirby was an underutilised character who we could have benefitted more from. It was good seeing Raoul Max Trujillo again working with Gibson. Trujillo plays a one dimensional Sicario known as The Cleaner who is completely covered in tattoos and just sent to kill anything in his path to achieve the death of Lydia and Link. Trujillo was the evil Mayan leader in APOCALYTPO. 

Another guy who nearly stole the show was Michael Parks as Preacher. He has a tendency to scare the shit out of me in anything he does. This was no exception as a red neck neo Nazi biker who trades in Nazi memorabilia.

 

Blood Father Erin Moriarty as Lydia and Mel Gibson as Link image

 

Discrepancies that pissed me off:

Two things really pissed me off in the movie. 1) Lydia’s drug issue. It never looked real to start with and then it appears a nap and a good talking to from your dad is enough to cure all drug issues. The only reason I could give this was because the film overall embraces an 80s style, that would be a given back then. And then number two really grated me (MILD SPOILERS IN FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH).

2) Apparently nearly everything is ten minutes away. Lydia is in a cinema ( which is cleverly playing ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13), Link is visiting someone inside a prison. Bad guys turn up, kidnap Lydia and call Link. They need a place to rendezvous. Link says I will call you back in ten minutes. In this ten minutes Link rides his bike out into the countryside, visits his old asshole friend, shoots a bunch of people, gets armed and then is back on the road when the call comes through. Now if Link had said “I will call you back in ten minutes of screen time” I would be all over this lovingly. However I did not hear that and unless my ears deceived me this still pisses me off.

 

Blood Father Mel Gibson as Link and Diego Luna as Jonah image

 

IN CONCLUSION:

It’s bloody fun seeing Mad Mel back in action. The film is worth it for him alone. Add to the fact it’s kind of like am 80s biker Western then you need to see BLOOD FATHER. Don’t take it too seriously, ignore the bloody stupid things and just enjoy the ride through some well paced action.

 

3 and a Half Pops

 

 

YOUR REVIEWER:

 owns, writes and edits Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. He is a movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict. He is a member of the Australian Film Critics Association and has been in the Australian movie industry for 25yrs. Furthermore he loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan. 

** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.

 

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