By: Henry J. Fromage (Four Beers) –
Mel Gibson is mid-reputation rehabilitation, at least his second attempt to do so in the last decade, but this one seems like this one might take a little better than the last.
Blood Father isn’t going to draw the same crowd as Hacksaw Ridge (maybe the opposite, ironically), but does tap into a skillset of his we haven’t seen in some time. He stars as an ex-con trying his best to stay sober and stay straight, which gets thrown for a loop when his long-missing, estranged daughter (Erin Moriarty) shows up asking him to help protect her from the Cartel boss/ex-boyfriend she shot in the face. Time to dust off a particular set of skills.
Face it, Mel Gibson hasn’t forgotten how to entertain. This is a gruffer, more regretful, and older Gibson here, firmly in the Neeson/Denzell aged asskicker mode, but he has something they don’t necessarily- the quick quips and hard-jawed leading man charisma earned at first with the Lethal Weapon franchise, and later with a couple of decades of steady work more.
He pretty much single-handedly carries this film, displaying he still knows how to flex those muscles and at his best reminding you of those early career highlights. If you’re wanting to go back to those good old days, well, first watch the far superior Get the Gringo from that last attempt at a comeback, but this’ll also do.
“Yep”- Henry J. Fromage
Director Jean-Francois Richet is no Adrian Grunberg, which, considering Grunberg never directed a film before or after Get the Gringo, probably says enough. This is post-Taken mundane Euro-action direction 101, full of quick cuts, blurry to the point of incomprehensibility action sequences, and otherwise workmanlike framing and editing. Meh.
More eyebrow-raising are the mixed political messages, that insane Sons of Anarchy bullshit, full of liberal lip service and race and sex politics straight out of the 1890s. This is the typical macho dick-shielding that folks think represents biker culture these days, with little splashes of nose-wrinkling flavor like Gibson knocking over some Nazi uniforms and screaming loudly like they wound his soul or something. I don’t know what message he thinks he’s conveying with this, but he’s not succeeding.
The rest of us caught on that Nazis were bad a bit sooner, Mel.
At one point, there’s a suicide conversation with his daughter that is really thoroughly bizarre, centering pretty much on him talking her out of considering it because he tried it once and it sucks or something. It doesn’t feel terribly sincere (Moriarty in general is fine, but not dripping with sincerity at any point of the film, which is extra off-putting because Gibson very clearly is trying to be sincere). In general, the tone of the film just ain’t right.
Blood Father is really only for Mel Gibson die-hards and undiscriminating Taken worshipers, but there’s still plenty of those, right?
Blood Father (2016) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: for talk of parole and going back to prison
Take a Drink: for talk of immigration
Take a Drink: for regret & contrition speeches
Take a Drink: for clear, confusing references to less savory Mel Gibson moments
Do a Shot: whenever a women gets jacked in the face (yes, this means it happens more than once)