HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Blood Father
HTS Overall Score:79
I have to admit that I love Mel Gibson. He was a formative icon for my movie youth with such hits like “Lethal Weapon”, “Braveheart”, “What Women Want” (shut up, I like that movie), “The Road Warrior”, “Bird on a Wire”, “Forever Young” and a host of other movies that up until about 2004ish when he got into some hot water in the public eye. Comes out that Mel was a bit of a substance abuser and had some rather twisted rantings that really turned all of Hollywood against him, effectively blacklisting the talented actor/director. Now I’m not trying to justify what he did. Even I had to admit that he crossed a line with some of the drunken public rants he made during his alcoholic stage, but I sincerely am saddened by the loss of a great actor/director the last 10-12 years, as we will never know what he could have done in his older age with the support of Hollywood behind him. While Gibson has not been a powerhouse anymore, he HAS been able to score some decent indie roles and a few roles as villains (“Machete Kills” and “The Expendables III”) and I have to say the man can still act amazingly well. A few years back I had the pleasure of watching and reviewing "Get the Gringo", which was an awesome return to form for the veteran “hard as nails” actor, and I was really looking forward to him coming back to a leading role with “Blood Father”.
Link (Mel Gibson) is an ex-can who lived the hard and dangerous life during his day. He’s been in jail for 9 years, been part of a REAL biker gang and definitely shot and snorted and drunk his way through life. Now he’s out and sober for 2 years and trying his best to keep a semblance of hope in his beaten down life as a washed up tattoo artist. Things change when his runaway 17 year old daughter, Lydia (Erin Moriarty) calls him up asking for help. It seems that she has gotten herself mixed up with some serious cartel gangsters and ended up shooting her boyfriend (played by Diego Luna) who just so happens to be the nephew of one of the biggest Mexican drug cartel leaders in the world. Skipping town and racing away as fast as she can, Lydia goes to the only person who still may help her, Link.
Putting everything into the wind and putting his sobriety, freedom and life on the line, Link does the only thing he knows how to do. Grab a car and start running. However it’s not going to be so easy. Our friendly neighborhood cartel leader is after her with sicarios on their tail and the cops after both of them, Link and Lydia have to put their heads down and run as fast and as far as they possibly can in order to survive. That is, if the drug dealers and crazed biker’s and cops on their tail don’t catch them first.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=81705[/img]“Blood Father” isn’t a perfect action film, and I personally feel that “Get the Gringo” was a better film. Still, it’s a solidly acted and decently written action/drama that makes me happy to once again see the 60 year old actor back in the saddle in a starring role. Interestingly enough, “Blood Father” plays some close ties to Gibson’s own demise. Link is an ex alcoholic (much like Gibson) who has been beaten down and worn out by the destructive patterns he created earlier in life. The scene at the AA meeting seems to really hit home to the actor, and the regret and emotion seems real. While it may not be a raw wound with him after all these years, you can tell that his own life’s problems easily helped fuel the scene and made it much more believable. Like Link, this is a last ride for Gibson (maybe not THE last) as the aging actor probably doesn’t have too many starring roles left in him.
However, while Gibson is pure gold, William H. Macy does what he does best (act phenomenally), some of the other actors are really paper thin and weak. Erin Moriarty’s acting is just plain painful at time. Even though she’s SUPPOSED to be kind of annoying as Lydia, the over the top acting and annoying screaming made her so much less likeable than she was supposed to be. Diego Luna is a solid enough actor, but he wasn’t given a whole lot of screen time, but his limited role was at least satisfying. The rest were just mini characters with glorified cameos, such as Raul Max Trujillo, who doesn’t even say a line as the sicario hitman from Mexico.
While the acting from everyone but Gibson and Macy were a little suspect, the film is still a lot of fun and is a great little action thriller with heart. Mell is very obviously acting his heart out and he’s completely likeable as the very UNLIKEABLE father. His attention to detail and absorbing himself into roles has been a skill that he has very obviously not lost, and “Blood Father” could have been a lot worse had it not been for his inclusion.
Rated R for strong violence, language throughout and brief drug use
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=81713[/img]Once again I can’t find any information on the equipment used to shoot “Blood Father”, but I would bet my bottom dollar that it was shot digitally. Budget releases usually are and the film shows all the gloss earmarks of being filmed that way. Detail is crisp and cleanly replicated, with every fiber of Gibson’s roughhewn shirts and hairs on his thick beard showing up with perfect precision. Black levels are strong and cleanly done with great shadow detail and only a teensy bit of crush here and there. Colors lean towards the red end of the spectrum, and the white levels are boosted EVER so slightly, which gives skin tones a ruddy look in the darkness and a rather shiny whitish look in some of the brightly lit desert scenes. It’s a great looking transfer, and due to the fact of it clocking in at less than 1.5 hours the bitrate is more than high enough to keep it artifact free for the most part.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=81721[/img]Despite not being a massive blockbuster, “Blood Father” has a surprisingly active and immersive sound mix. The film doesn’t start out with a whole lot, just a bust of action and then quite a bit of dialog for the first 30 minutes, but once Lydia and Link get their trailer hit by the assassins things liven up quickly. Gunshots ring with authority and carry appropriate weight behind them without sounding like a 9mm being a shotgun blast, and the surrounds get a nice workout between the gun battles and the sound of Link’s Harley Soft tail (which I REALLY want and was devastated with what happened to it at the end). LFE is tight and powerful when needed, but not overly obvious or aggressive when it didn’t need to be. That old soft tail hums and throbs with power and the roar of his old muscle car is impressive to the ear.
• “Lost Souls: On the Road with Blood Father” Featurette
Despite having a few pacing flaws, and some weak acting by Erin Moriarty, “Blood Father” is a fun action/drama with a bit of heart. Mel Gibson still proves that he can act with the best of them, and I really REALLY hopes he’s at least able to continue on making good lower tier (at least in the public’s eye) films for quite some time considering how much of an impact he had on my film growth as a young man. The audio and the video are fantastic and while the extras are a TEENSY bit slim, I still wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this as a good watch.
Starring: Mel Gibson, Erin Moriarty, Diego Luna
Directed by: Jean-Francois Richet
Written by: Peter Craig, Andrea Berloff
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Runtime: 88 minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: October 11th 2016
Buy Blood Father On Blu-ray at Amazon
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