After years of being exiled from the genres that defined his career, Mel Gibson's return to reality based action comes in the form of his latest entry Blood Father, currently on VOD and in limited run theaters. The film is a throwback that takes time to build up but eventually has a decent payoff as Mel tries his best to outrun and forget the barrage of negativity surrounding him.
With such a small release, it's hard to imagine that this will kick start a full on comeback for Gibson, but the movie proves one thing for sure. The man still has an enigmatic presence, ripe with grit and more talent than any of his aging, weapon toting peers. Unlike Stallone and Schwarzenegger's attempts to revitalize their careers as action stars, this actually works (for the most part) with a basic script and just enough flying bullets to keep the audience captivated. Blood Father takes Gibson back down the road of realistic gunplay as he defends his long lost daughter. No, this isn't anything like the Taken movies and anyone that says so should have their head examined.
Growing up on a steady diet of Gibson's early films like The Road Warrior, Lethal Weapon, and his absolutely epic Braveheart, it was hard to watch his career burnout in such a blistering mess of racial slurs and rabid behavior. Well, after years of being deservedly blacklisted for his personal sins, the man is finally back with a film that proves he's still a viable actor that just so happened to make some really bad life choices. Again, there's no excuse for the way he behaved but Blood Father is a true testament to Mel's unbridled swagger, perfected line delivery, and absolute dedication to creating reality based characters. With Blood Father, he carefully intertwines previous characters he's played in movies like Ransom, Payback, and Mad Max. While this never really reaches the heights of those features, it's nice to see him chewing scenes and spitting them out again.
|Is this Santa? Can I have my career back for Christmas?|
Due to budgetary constraints and a short run time, Blood Father seems truncated and not as fleshed out as it could have been. Scenes sometimes seem short and the overall run time could have used a little bit of additional padding. At a measly one hour and twenty eight minutes, more backstory could have been thrown in for good measure and the villains would have definitely benefitted from more detail. Considering this was being toted as a major comeback for the star of the show, the movie could have used another twenty minutes to allow for the main characters to have more interaction. In addition, this movie makes almost no use of William H. Macy and Michael Parks' support players. That in itself is a sin of the highest order.
To put it bluntly, Blood Father is not the second coming of Mr. Gibson. This is a mediocre movie that should've been given a ton more coddling and love. The director, Jean-Francois Richet, should have known that fans would expect more. Considering he directed one of the best crime epics ever, Mesrine Parts One and Two, this doesn't quite live up to the hype surrounding it. With the markings of a classic Mel Gibson going on a killing bender, Blood Father only gives us a taste of what we've been craving for so long: Mel Gibson kicking ass and taking names for two hours. Oh well. Maybe next time.
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