“BLOOD FATHER” My rating: C+
88 minutes | MPAA rating: R
“Blood Father” is a comic book crime thriller — pulpy and superficial.
Yet it also features an arresting (if not precisely compelling) performance from Mel Gibson as a weary ex-con who suddenly finds his estranged teenage daughter violently thrust back into his life.
We first encounter Gibson’s John Link at an AA meeting in a windswept desert burg. He runs a tattoo business out of his rusting mobile home, pees weekly into a cup for his parole officer and with the help of his sponsor (William H. Macy) tries to stay clean after a lifetime of excess and crime.
Enter 17-year-old Lydia (Erin Moriarty), the child he hasn’t seen since her infancy. Lydia has run away from home, gotten involved with Jonah (Diego Luna), the jerk scion of a family running a Mexican drug cartel, and is now on the run from her boyfriend and his murderous associates.
She’s spoiled, arrogant, and stupid.
In fact, with the exception of Macy’s character, there’s not a genuinely likable figure in Peter Craig and Andrea Berloff’s screenplay (an adaption of Craig’s novel). If Gibson’s Link eventually emerges as semi-heroic, it’s only because our options are limited. And because Gibson was born to play this sort of character.
Needless to say, Lydia’s presence brings down all sorts of woes on Link, who to protect his daughter must go on the run, thus breaking his parole. And that’s not even counting the bodies that start piling up.