Blood Father

Aug 26, 2016

Gibson returns with a vengeance.

Blood Father

Image courtesy of IMDb.

Grade: B

Director: Jean-Francois Richet (One Wild Moment)

Screenplay: Peter Craig (The Town), Andrea Berloff (Straight Outta Compton)

Cast: Mel Gibson (Braveheart), Erin Moriarty (Captain Fantastic)

Rating: R

Runtime: 88 min

by John DeSando

When fathers save daughters (think Liam Neeson thrillers), there will always be blood. In Blood Father, there’s more lamenting mistakes that left a 16 year-old Lydia (Erin Moriarity) to drop out of sight for a year while father, Link (Mel Gibson) is miserable over the loss. Meanwhile he keeps in contact with his parole officer.

The strength of this film, a modern Western-like fable, is certainly not the plot, which has been told before—she got involved with some bad dealers, and he did some bad things while hooked up with a motorcycle gang (Michael Parks, ever near bikes in movies, is Link’s surrogate dad). The real interest is seeing Mel Gibson playing a Mad Max dad with dexterity to remind us of his salad days as an actor.

Link is hard and soft, a rounded character Gibson plays well enough for us to care what happens to him. Whatever charm Gibson has seems present in this distraught father who won’t let his daughter go once he finds her again.

The stereotypes are present such as the very bad, tattooed Mexican drug dealers, and the shoot out that requires hero dad to out fox even the most seasoned outlaw.

Hardly a liberal idea anywhere except maybe dad and daughter riding in the back of a truck and wondering if the Mexicans aboard are legal. Beyond ideology, Blood Father is a taut little thriller returning Mel Gibson to front and center.

John DeSando, a Los Angeles Press Club first-place winner for National Entertainment Journalism, hosts WCBE’s It’s Movie Time and co-hosts Cinema Classics. Contact him at