Chew on this you drug-pushing scum
Hey, Mel Gibson’s back. Well, of course he is, I’m sure plenty of you have seen him in other stuff recently (didn’t he make some comedies?) since he upset people shouting his mouth off in the ‘real world’ about things he shouldn’t have, but this here must be the first thing I’ve seen him in since Edge of Darkness in 2010- no, wait, he was in The Expendables 3, wasn’t he (good grief I’d almost mercifully forgotten that). So anyway, for me its been awhile (my favourite Mel film is Payback, I think, although Braveheart is unabashedly daft fun).
And what do you know, Blood Father turned out pretty good, in a sort of check your brain at the door, soak up the action, kind of way, when I’d expected some pretty dismal, straight-to-video stuff from the premise. Its b-movie, but classy b-movie, I suppose, if that’s even a thing.
Mel is Link, ex-con and recovering alcoholic, running a tattoo business in a trashy trailer melting in the desert sun in a god-forsaken middle of nowhere, when suddenly his long-lost daughter, Lydia (Erin Moriarty, the weak link (sic) of the film), from an earlier failed marriage rings him begging for help, having gotten mixed up with the wrong sort of drug-dealing scum. Well, you can guess where this thing is going, I suppose Liam Neeson must have been busy. Link drives off to rescue her and gets her back to his trailer, but she’s not being 100% honest with her long-lost dad because she’s being hunted down by pissed off drug-runners/dealers/bandits and a super-assassin too. And they soon come calling.
But Link is pretty bad-ass himself, and while he’d prefer to maintain his quiet life and ‘enjoy’ his parole, long-lost daughters in trouble come first. So of course it’s not long until all hell breaks loose.
To be honest, Mel dominates this film, carrying it all by himself, indeed in spite of Moriarty, who is a) too pretty and b) not in the slightest bit convincing, as his daughter. Her casting and indeed her character is all some kind of bizarre throwback to a 1980s movie starring that
Seagull sorry Seagal fella – it’s like the last thirty years never happened. Physically Mel is pretty formidable, all bulked up and craggy and rough and yes, quite a convincing action figure for a guy who turned sixty when this came out, but it’s the performance that counts, almost demanding the camera’s sole attention in every scene he’s in- shades of Lethal Weapon etc. Its a suggestion he may yet have great, even career-best things ahead of him yet.
Its pretty formulaic otherwise , but there’s a pretty impressive cast shuffled in behind Mel (William H Macy, Michael Parks) and there’s plenty of action to hold attention between the talky bits and Moriarty, bless her, trying to derail the enterprise with every scene she’s lost in.