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With: Mel Gibson, Erin Moriarty, Diego Luna, William H. Macy, Michael Parks, Thomas Mann
Written by: Peter Craig, Andrea Berloff, based on a novel by Peter Craig
Directed by: Jean-François Richet
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence, language throughout and brief drug use
Running Time: 88
Date: 08/15/2016
IMDB

Blood Father (2016)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Good Pop, Bad Pop

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This well-made "B"-style action-chase movie could have easily fallen apart along its well-worn story grooves, but nifty characters and electric dialogue, along with the intense action, keep it alive.

In Blood Father, runaway teen Lydia Link (Erin Moriarty) has become involved a little too deeply with her boyfriend, Jonah (Diego Luna), a member of a drug cartel. After a job goes badly, Lydia is in trouble, addicted to drugs, and hunted. She has nowhere to turn except her father, John (Mel Gibson).

An ex-con and a recovering alcoholic, John is on parole and trying to stay out of trouble, but when his daughter calls, he can't refuse. Defending himself against some attacking punks, John hits the road with Lydia, looking for help wherever they can. Just as things begin to look their bleakest, Lydia is taken, and John must head out to the desert for a final, deadly showdown.

It has been decades since Mel Gibson has found a good-fitting role, but he has finally done it in Blood Father, indulging in his penchant for slapdash humor, pent-up rage and martyrdom in a way that feels familiar, as if this were a Lethal Weapon movie.

His onscreen chemistry with his daughter (Erin Moriarty) is strong enough to pull us in, and a roster of character actors add splashes of color; in other words, the scenes without fighting and shooting are just as interesting. It's sometimes easy to see the plot mechanics kicking into gear, but director Jean-Francois Richet (Mesrine, the Assault on Precinct 13 remake) and screenwriters Andrea Berloff and Peter Craig (who adapted Craig's novel) keep things tightly paced and tightly coiled.

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