Director: Jean-François Richet
Though Mad Mel Gibson’s forthcoming ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ heralds a return to the kind of directorial event film-making for which he’s famed, he’s been prepping the ground with a series of smaller, mea culpa acting turns, ‘The Beaver’, ‘Get The Gringo’ and now this.
Ergo, ‘Blood Father’ opens with Med Mel – I mean, his character, John Link – confessing all at an AA meeting. He’s done bad stuff. He’s sorry. He wants to begin again. Whether or not you forgive him is irrelevant. The question is whether you want to watch him, and the fact remains that from ‘Mad Max’ to ‘Apocalypto’, whether in front of the camera or behind it, Gibbo’s always turned out fascinating work. Not necessarily good work, mind you, but always with a welcome dollop of ‘what the fuck?’
Here he seems to be channelling his most commercial character, Riggs of ‘Lethal Weapon’. In fact, if you can imagine that Riggs has retired, grown an awesome beard and now works out of a caravan as a tattoo artist, only to be dragged into a violent feud involving his daughter, you’ve got the measure of ‘Blood Father’, both in terms of plot and its mix of gunplay and humour.
That second element isn’t done as deftly as it could be, and ‘Blood Father’ is tonally awkward. It’s also let down by an under-written, badly performed foil in Erin Moriarty as the wayward daughter in question. On the plus side, it benefits from a wry, hard-boiled tone, one or two bravura action set-pieces and of course a craggy, self-aware central performance, which has got to be at least 50 per cent of the reason you’re tuning in in the first place.
Gibbo’s back behind the camera for ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ but in the meantime ‘Blood Father’ is a fine reminder of his singular, maverick presence.
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