Thursday, September 01, 2016
Mel plays an ex-con, two years sober, living in a trailer in the desert where he makes a few bucks as a tattoo artist. His ex-wife hates him, his teenage daughter ran away four years earlier, and his only friend (William H. Macy) is also his AA sponsor. Then Lydia (Erin Moriarty), his daughter, returns, and she’s in trouble and on the run from Mexican drug dealers.
As far as stories go, BLOOD FATHER is pretty standard action fare with crisp dialogue by high-profile screenwriters Andrea Berloff (STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON) and Peter Craig (THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PARTS 1 and 2). The success of a film often is not its story, however, but how it is told, and BLOOD FATHER is tersely directed for maximum impact and minimal b.s. If it doesn’t propel the story forward or provide insight into the character, Richet doesn’t shoot it, which makes for a satisfying thriller.
Gibson is extremely good and certainly sympathetic as a formerly not-so-great guy putting in a sincere effort to go straight and having that effort threatened by his daughter’s appearance. He and Moriarty (JESSICA JONES) have believable chemistry, and he certainly hasn’t lost his touch in the running, shooting, and punching departments. Richet leavens the violence with touches of humor, including a witty opening in which a young woman buys several boxes of bullets, but is asked for ID to buy cigarettes. THEN CAME BRONSON star Michael Parks is great as a wild-eyed former confederate of Gibson’s who sells Nazi paraphernalia online.