Plenty of people over the years have had plenty of things to say about Mel Gibson, especially when it comes to how a few things he’s said over the years might have affected how fans think of him. But there’s no denying that he still has the talent that’s needed to churn out a good movie here and there, even if it doesn’t get that much attention compared to his earlier works. It’s fair to state that Gibson is getting older and isn’t able to do as much as he used to, but Blood Father still allows him to act tough and put in a performance that’s reminiscent of the tough guy he’s been in the past. But there’s a complication in this movie that Gibson’s characters have faced before that usually gets the tough guy to change a little during the story. The movie starts by showing a break-in and a murder as Lydia and her boyfriend Jonah have a parting of ways when Lydia accidentally shoots Jonah in the neck, supposedly killing him. Lydia runs after this, as she’s scared and uncertain of what to do.
Enter John Link, a tattoo artist, and former alcoholic and criminal that lives in a trailer park where he tries to live one day at a time as he attends meetings and takes clients regularly. When Lydia, his daughter, re-enters his life, however, things get difficult very quickly when John realizes she’s a junkie, which means that any contact with her could spell big trouble for John with his parole officer. When the friends of Jonah come calling, looking for Lydia, things only get worse as John, recognizing them as being trouble, tells them to leave. When they tip over his trailer, with John and Lydia in it, the rest of the trailer park comes to their aid as the thugs light out, figuring it’s not worth the trouble at the moment.
When John and Lydia go on the run they quickly find that they can’t trust anyone as the cops appear ready to fire first and ask questions later, while the cartel that Lydia messed with has sent an assassin that has no qualms about killing anyone in his way. As John and Lydia continue to run they end up finding out a little more about each other, as the two have been separated for a while. Upon heading to the home of his former mentor, a man known as Preacher, John figures that he’s come to a place of safety since Preacher is a Vietnam vet and knows how to take care of himself. The problem is that there’s a price on John’s head, and once Preacher and his wife find out, they’re keen on cutting ties as the bounty is too tempting. When John gets the drop on both of them and escapes with Lydia, the two of them are chased by two of Preacher’s men, who John shoots and kills. After cleaning up a bit, John visits a former cellmate to find out what kind of connections Jonah has, as it’s revealed that Jonah is still alive.
Unfortunately, after leaving the prison, John finds out that Jonah has captured Lydia and his friend Kirby. He agrees to meet Jonah to exchange his own life for Lydia’s, and shortly after returns to Preacher’s home where retrieves several explosives, a mine, and kills Preacher before heading out to the meeting site. Rigging the bike with a mine, he then seeks to save Lydia as a shootout ensues following the tripping of the mine. While Jonah survives and is incarcerated, his men are killed, but so is John as he and the assassin end up shooting each other. The movie ends by showing Jonah being surrounded by John’s former cellmate, the implication being that Jonah isn’t going to last that long. About a year later, Lydia is sitting in a support group, much like her father, leading the audience to think that she’s well on the road to recovery.
As far as action movies go, this one was kind of enjoyable since it was straight to the point and not too difficult to follow as there were no serious twists and turns that had to be paid attention to. Mel Gibson is still able to act like a growling badass that can be believed as an ex-con and a tattoo artist. From start to finish this movie is what it appears to be, a story that’s meant to be that of a father reconnecting with his daughter and making the ultimate sacrifice to keep her safe. There is one point when it feels as though John might be able to survive to the end credits, but the movie does feel as though it ends in the manner that it’s supposed to, no matter how sad it is.
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