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Cast: Mel Gibson, William H. Macy, Erin Moriarty, Michael Parks, Diego Luna
Review: Blood Father By- Stephen Folklore
It's seems very unfair to discuss his personal struggles when reviewing a new Mel Gibson film nowadays, but unfortunately the crooks of the matter is he has fallen from grace and is slowly climbing the ladder again, one rung at a time. Part time gigs in Machete Kills & The Expendables 3 aren't quite cutting it, but to deliberately slogan "Gibson's Back" across reviews, film posters or whatever other material whenever he releases a new film just pisses me right off as Gibson has never been away. After all the controversy he could have disappeared into oblivion and not appeared on screen ever again. Companies, directors and actors have purposely shunned Gibson. He's lost his seat at the high table and only comedians speak his name, but only when they're roasting him. Still, this hasn't wavered him and good old Mel just keeps plugging along. Even after everything his choice of movies and recent career is better than whatever Nic Cage or John Cusack are churning out.
'How I Spent My Summer Vacation' is a terrific movie, so too is 'The Beaver'. Now he returns with 'Blood Father', a sort of B-movie semi-action flick that Gibson is perfect for. He oozes easily into the role and plays a sort of rough around the edges ex-con and alcoholic living out his days quietly in his trailer, tattooing locals. He's friends with his sponsor Kirby (William H. Macey) who's superb as always and goes about his business until his off the rails daughter Lydia (Erin Moriarty) gets back in touch to seek his help. She's fell in with the wrong crowd due to dating the ringleader Jonah (Diego Luna). During a nasty robbery gone sour, Lydia shoots her boyfriend and makes a dash for it, but only for this gang of baddies to be hot on her trail. There's only one thing left for Lydia to do and it's to call Daddy.
'Blood Father' was wrongly promoted for me. Billed as a sort of mishmash of Pulp Fiction & Taken, it's nothing of the sort. Ok it's very pulp, but it's more grizzled and dirty and doesn't try to steer to far from how it was written. Granted, the story isn't really anything new, but it doesn't really need to be. It's a straight to the point father & daughter story that is excelled by superb performances. (Moriarty) is excellent and intelligent in her acting and more that matches up to Gibson who is as charismatic as ever. Even though his age, he never looks silly during action scenes unlike others such as John Travolta who just look embarrassing.
There's lovely support from the always amazing Michael Parks and solid performances throughout in general. I've always liked Director Jean-François Richet since his 'Assault on Precinct 13' remake and this is his best work since that movie. He certainly knows how to balance enough time equally to the characters and action sequences. He manages the action superbly, brutish and realistic, but always makes his characters the priority. I loved his littles nods to Macy's character's name and Lydia's cinema visit, it really made me smile and appreciate the director more.
'Blood Father' is a lovely throwback to 80's/90's action films and stylistically is a joy in the eye. Richet is so talented and I hope he just carries on making this style of film as he's so smart. The cast are great and in particular Gibson who's just a legend and in my opinion is getting better with age.
Review by- Stephen Folklore