Once there was a time when Mel Gibson was the hottest name in Hollywood. His juicy performances in Braveheart and The Patriot were the followings of immensely succesful Lethal weapon franchise, which quickly gained him worldwide recognition. Yet, as the years passed by, something went off the rails. And Blood Father, his latest comeback to acting, is weaved with nostalgia, but unfortunately – it’s a mediocre return at best.
An ex-con Link (Mel Gibson) lives in his trailer, making small-time money in his movable tattoo saloon. One day he receives a call from his panicked daughter, that went missing years back. Now the girl needs his help, as she got involved in some nasty business with a Mexican cartel.
Blood Father‘s main drawback is the sole fact that the French director Jean-Francois Richet never made any effort to leave his comfort zone of copying a substantial list of patterns and cliches. Therefore, his action-drama-thriller thing is bursting at the seams due to how recycled it feels. The lost-on-the-way father, who wishes to reunite with his estranged, rebel daughter, several no-name, tattooed gangsters with Spanish accents and a bunch of other weird characters that could be easily omitted – it’s all checked. Due to these factors, Blood Father reminds of various other titles, from Soderbergh’s Traffic and Bourne franchise to Taken and also starring Mel Gibson – Fury.
Even the moral background of the story – the rejunevated bond linking the ex-con and his daughter Lydia (Erin Moriarty) is just exhibited too obviously, too intrusively. The jump in the arch of Lydia is unbelievably plastic – her transformation is sudden and rushed, without proper reasoning. There isn’t much of the story given and out of the scraps we observe, Lydia’s behavior is – at least – a bit unnatural. All in all, Richet desperately wanted to direct and edgy movie, brutal and climactic, but all he came up with was a chaotic bit-of-this-and-that.
However, it’s not as if Richet’s feature was entirely deserving to be flushed down the toilet. Among the enjoyable traits of Blood Father one should notice Mel Gibson’s performance. It’s more than solid, as if Gibson’s on-screen charm never left him. Hence, even though it kind of summons up his role in 2010’s Fury, it’s still Mel, who keeps the momentum going. There is also the satisfying cinematography, which makes use of the desolate parts of the southern American border, radiating with drought and direness.
Nevertheless, Blood Father is one of the whole bunch of action thrillers, that were made without a single stroke of genius, brick by brick built to match the neighbourhood just fine. And even though I get sentimental about Mel Gibson as an actor, he surely should stick to directing, because that’s where his true talent blossoms.
What’s cool: Mel Gibson. Period. And maybe cinematography.
What’s not cool: Copy & paste from too many movies, uninspired and cliched story, poor acting.
UMP Grade: 25/50