When ex-convict Link (Mel Gibson) reunites with his missing daughter Lydia, who is on the run from both the law and a Mexican drug cartel, he proves he’ll go to extreme lengths to protect her.
Blood Father is a fantastic return to form for Mel Gibson. From the synopsis, I went into this movie expecting something similar to Taken, and while they do share some themes in having a father intent on saving his daughter no matter what the cost, that’s where the similarities end. In contrast to the very polished and Hollywood production that is Taken, Blood Father is a gritty and realistic action-drama. The main characters are flawed, morally ambiguous anti heroes that you can’t help rooting for.
It’s in the relationship between Link and Lydia where this movie really shines. They’re interesting characters and some of the best scenes in the movie are just watching them interact with each other and do mundane things as they reform their relationship. Their interplay is light and humorous and feels more like watching real people than scripted characters. At first I felt like I shouldn’t like them as people but there is something endearing about them that I couldn’t help but warm to. As characters they’re very reminiscent of Joel and Ellie from The Last of Us in both their ‘rough around the edges’ personas and their warm but not overly expressive affection for each other.
While most of the screen time is owned by Link and Lydia, other characters in the movie feel equally real and fleshed out. Director Jean-François Richet has successfully crafted a world that feels full of rich characters with their own complex motivations and backstories, although these are only hinted at.
The action scenes are satisfying but not gratuitous. Dragged out of his quiet life of redemption and sober living, Link is driven by a need to keep his daughter safe which makes him ruthless and fearless. His history as a member of a criminal biker gang makes his fighting style brutal and efficient but not overly flashy.
The plot is fairly straight forward without surprises but this movie feels less about the overall story and more about the moments which remain delightfully engaging throughout. The ending could have been unsatisfying because it’s quite abrupt and some things are left unexplained, but it’s forgivable because the journey is so enjoyable.
Overall, Blood Father is a fun glimpse into the lives of two flawed yet endearing characters as they fight for survival and redemption. It’s a small scale story marked by interesting characters and gritty action.