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Review - 'Blood Father'

Review - 'Blood Father'

Blood Father flew under the radar late in the summer, which is too bad, because it's actually one of my favorite action films of 2016. Mel Gibson shows that he's still got it in this brutal action-drama about a weathered father who is reunited with his missing daughter, only to find out that she is being stalked by some very dangerous people. 

This film really caught me by surprise, mainly because the trailers led me to believe that it was going to be a fairly straight-forward action film with the markings of a direct-to-dvd release. I was wrong. Director Jean Francois Richet captures some stunning shots, keeps everything in focus and even manages to stage some pretty great small-scale action set-pieces that rival films with exponentially larger budgets. I also love the propulsive story that is constantly setting up tense and interesting situations that kept me teetering on the edge of my seat. 

What really holds this film together, though, is the power-house performance from Mel Gibson who plays a distraught father named John Link. There are long takes that show Gibson in a pensive state as he questions how things got to be the way they are, and you can just see the emotion in his eyes. Mel Gibson has a distinctive visage that helps convey the story of a frustrated and troubled man that is looking for an outlet for redemption. I was also impressed with Gibson's physicality; at the age of 61, he's still an imposing figure and really conveys a natural toughness throughout the film. If Blood Father hadn't gone so unnoticed during its theatrical run, I'm pretty sure there would have been some awards talk for his stellar performance here. 

The rest of the cast holds up their own as well. My one minor complaint would be with Erin Moriarty, who plays Link's daughter, Lydia. While I don't feel like her performance was bad per-se, she couldn't help but pale in comparison to Gibson. William H. Macy also makes a brief but memorable appearance as Link's "sponsor", Kirby Curtis. A pre-Star Wars Diego Luna also makes an appearance as the villain and while he's excellent in the part, I wish I could have seen a little more of him. 

My biggest complaint about Blood Father is that it wraps up and pulls out of town a bit too quickly. The film is a brisk 88 minutes which ensures that it is never boring, but also leaves a bit to be desired. I don't think the villains were established well enough and while I certainly wanted to see them bite the dust, I felt like everything was resolved a bit too swiftly.

All said, Blood Father is an efficient action-drama with an award-worthy performance from Mel Gibson. The movie is great to look at and has a story that, while simple and not quite long enough, keeps you engaged from start to finish. 

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