Blood Father: Mel Gibson The Actor Finds Redemption in a Hail of Gunfire [Review]

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From Lionsgate, director Jean-Francois Richet and writer Peter Craig (The Town) comes the gritty action thriller Blood Father. Starring Mel Gibson, Erin Moriarty, William H. Macy, Thomas Mann, Elisabeth Rohm, Diego Luna and Michael Parks, the film hits limited theaters August 12, 2016. 

An ex-convict (Mel Gibson) battles drug dealers who are trying to kill his estranged daughter (Erin Moriarty).

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As a movie fan, I’ve been waiting for that day when we collectively as film nuts can forgive Mel Gibson the actor – not the person… Because make no mistake, that dude has dug a hole so deep with his crazy problems, that there’s still a ways to go before we can go that far… But we’ve been waiting for the day that as simply movie fans, we can let that personal shit go and just enjoy a Gibson movie for what it is. Today is that day and the movie is called Blood Father. Gibson plays a grizzled ex-con who has to resort to his violent ways in order to protect his daughter after she runs into trouble with a dangerous Mexican gang.

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Gibson is perfect in Blood Father. In many ways, the film could sadly be analysed as a metaphorical representation that the actor himself has faced. He lives in exile and runs a tattoo shop out of his trailer called Missing Link and he’s struggling to stay sober. Sound familiar? Well — aside from the whole prison, guns and tattoo thing…. I think. Much of the lines that Gibson’s character speaks and the way he delivers his dialogue makes me think that the script may have been written specifically for him ahead of time. It’s that similar in a sense and because of that, it actually works in favour of the movie. Not once did I get distracted thinking that this is some sort of apologetic and symbolic rebirth of Mel Gibson taking place before my very eyes on the big screen – no this is just naturally a well-made, gritty action thriller that gets the job done. Gibson just happens to remind us all that he’s a badass action star along the way.

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One thing I noticed straight away is the lines on Gibson’s face – my god – the dude has these natural scars of age just lining his face up and down like Clint Eastwood and he looks so damn intimidating. Blood Father would be a western if it weren’t for all the drugs and killer cartel chaos. Erin Moriarty plays Gibson’s daughter and in many ways this is actually her movie just as much, if not more, than Gibson’s. Their on-screen chemistry is nice and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss Gibson’s smart-ass “I’m too old for this shit” kind of line delivery – especially when he starts quipping about all the jail-time he’s going to get during an initial action sequence at his home.

Blood Father is a chase film, it’s bare-bones and there isn’t much under the hood aside from the strong performances and gritty violence that has frighteningly realistic impact. The final scenes out in the desert, in that car, outside that car and everything else was so brutal and so satisfying in it’s own sadistic way that I was sad when the movie had to wrap up shortly after. Gibson has truly found redemption as a performer in a hail of gunfire, in a movie that at many times felt like a B-Movie because of it’s grit and simplistic approach, but because he’s so damn good at what he does, it truly elevates the film. I like Gibson, I feel sad for the guy, and I think the next step is to see him in some more strong and gritty roles like this one – maybe even a Tarantino flick at this point… I would love that.

Blood-Father-New-Picture-2If you like intense thrillers like Sicario or No Country For Old Men – just bare-knuckled, guns blazing, intense and abrasive no-holds barred cinema – then Blood Father will appeal to your sadistic tendencies. Hell, it reminds me of the early 90’s action movies I’d rent over and over again at the video store – hidden gems. It just so happens that we’re rediscovering what we’ve been missing these past few years with Mel Gibson. I like that.

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