Directed By: Jean-Francois Richet
Starring: Mel Gibson, Erin Moriarty
For Fans of: Taken, Mad Max
My Rating: 8 out of 10
If there is one thing I’m not sure of but at the same time, can be 100% certain of (despite never ever meeting the man) it's that Mel Gibson is a bad type of arsehole. Thankfully for Mel his redeeming quality is making bad ass action movies and Blood Father is the latest in a career of high octane action jaunts, which takes people to the edge of their seat. This one focuses on a recovering alcoholic, Mel Gibson, who is trying to live the quiet life out in the middle of nowhere, trying not to go back to prison. Unfortunately his daughter has become mixed up in some terrible shit and this causes her to ring her daddy for help and her daddy can kick proper arse!
This is Mel at his best, better than I have seen him for some time, perhaps even bringing back the kind of performance which made Mad Max and Lethal Weapon so popular. He plays John Link, a man protecting his beloved daughter and Gibson unleashes hell on anyone trying to bring her harm in a superb hardcore all action assault for the eyes. The father-daughter relationship in an action film is hardly original, Liam Neeson has had that down with Taken quite recently, but this one serves up a far more raw and gritty quality as instead of having the training and gadgets of a government agent, he is basically a street thug kicking butt with no specialist help. This brings a different dimension to it and I think everyone can get on board with the story of a Dad who would do just about anything to protect his child. The relationship had to be paramount for this film to work and thankfully Mel had the perfect support in Erin Moriarty who plays daughter Lydia, there was a believable bond from the moment they connected. She was excellent throughout, and working with the sharp script, she really made the role her own. You could see this was not a perfect father-daughter relationship but despite that you could see how much John wanted to be with his daughter and toward the end there was a delicate touching scene within all the action, which showed how much the daughter loved him back. This is why this film stood out as a great action movie, yes it was a very straightforward story and completely predictable throughout, but what it did it did very very well.
It was exciting and thrilling in those tense action scenes but when it brought it back down to the very basic story of a father and child it was tender and believable. The director (who deserves an A plus for his work on this movie) got the tone and visual spot on, that man was Jean-Francois Richet. Now I’m going to have to admit, I haven't seen enough of this mans work to know whether this was a one off or whether I have been missing out on something. Sure to say I’ll be following up by watching more of his films because as action movies go, this was bloody good and shot superbly. Perhaps because it was in the desert but this film almost had the makings of a western feel too, with the scenery behind it and calling it just an action film may be a slight disservice. This was also a cleverly written and sharp witted road movie as well. But action was at its heart, a bullet filled finale really brings the film to a climax and I have to say it's been one of my shocks of the year so far, barely a word is being breathed about this film in comparison to those big block busters Marvel and DC are churning out but this has so much more to offer than any of the let down summer blockbusters I’ve seen so far. So yes, Gibson may be a dick, but in great films like this, all is forgiven.