(France - 2016)
Directed by Jean-Francois Richet. Written by Peter Craig and Andrea Berloff. Cast: Mel Gibson, Erin Moriarty, William H. Macy, Diego Luna, Michael Parks, Miguel Sandoval, Thomas Mann, Raoul Trujillo, Dale Dickey, Richard Cabral, Daniel Moncada, Ryan Dorsey. (R, 88 mins)
Is it possible to cover a new Mel Gibson movie without rehashing the very public meltdowns over the past decade? Is it OK to like Mel Gibson onscreen again? To praise his acting without sounding like you're defending the man himself? After 2011's badly-received THE BEAVER, Gibson didn't seem to have much of a future as anything other than a Hollywood pariah. Aside from an occasional friend like Jodie Foster standing by him, nobody wanted anything to do with him. 2012's slight but enjoyable actioner GET THE GRINGO premiered on DirecTV before Gibson managed to score two nearly identical over-the-top, self-parodying villain roles in MACHETE KILLS (2013) and THE EXPENDABLES 3 (2014), but that appeared to be the extent to which anyone was willing to cast him. This fall brings the WWII epic HACKSAW RIDGE, Gibson's first directing effort since 2006's APOCALYPTO (the trailer just says "From the Academy Award-winning director of BRAVEHEART," never mentioning Gibson by name), but before working on that, he starred in the French-financed BLOOD FATHER, which is finally getting a limited theatrical and VOD release two years after it was completed. If you have any doubts about whether the now-60-year-old Gibson's still got it, BLOOD FATHER should put any of those concerns to rest. Lean, mean, crude, and scuzzy, the hard-R BLOOD FATHER is an unabashed old-school exploitationer.. Films of this sort are usually of the pre-fab cult movie variety, imbued with a smug sense of hipster snark and winking, entitled self-awareness. Not BLOOD FATHER. Propelled by what may very well be Gibson's most ferocious performance in a long career with no shortage of them, BLOOD FATHER is the sort of throwback B-action grinder that puts the pretenders to shame.