Review of the week
Film: Blood Father
Cast: Mel Gibson, Erin Moriarty, Diego Luna, William H. Macy, Michael Parks, Thomas Mann
Director: Jean-François Richet
Reviewer: Peter Feldman
Rating: 3/5 Stars
A dishevelled looking Mel Gibson is back on the big screen dispensing the kind of rough justice that made him famous.
His fallout with Hollywood some years ago over the boiling rants of hatred he spewed forth, and the public outcry that followed, put his career on hold.
He now stars in this Jean-François Richet action flick and is the director of ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ the soon-to-be-seen production about World War II American Army Medic Desmond T. Do (Andrew Garfield), who served during the Battle of Okinawa, and refused to kill people.
Is all forgiven?
‘Blood Father’ is a movie for adrenalin junkies. It certainly pumps as the tattooed Gibson (playing a sleazy character named John Link) pulls out all the stops to save his teenage daughter from a callous drug cartel.
The movie has echoes of ‘Taken’, where a concerned parent (Liam Neeson) takes the law into his own hands and pursues a ruthless gang, regardless of the consequences.
‘Blood Father’ is a grimy, pulp action thriller. Though clichės abound, this rescue-and-revenge saga still manages to deliver the goods.
Erin Moriarty plays Link’s estranged 16-year-old daughter, Lydia, who is framed by her Mexican drug kingpin boyfriend (Diego Luna) for stealing a fortune in cartel cash.
With the gang after her, Lydia goes on the run, with only one ally in this whole wide world: her dad, who is bad news. John Link has been a drunk, a drug addict, a motorcycle outlaw, and a convict in his time, and he is now determined to save Lydia from harm and, for once in his useless life, do the right thing.
There is no Hollywood studio gloss to this sadistic offering and at times it resembles one of those 1970s grindhouse epics where pandemonium reigns supreme. Drug goons with tattoos up to their throats throw every kind of fire power at the two, but they are immune to death as they stumble from one chaotic set-piece to another.
It’s fascinating to observe how closely this Link character resembles Gibson’s own fall from grace and maybe it’s structured as a sort of penance.
We first see the actor in extreme close-up. It’s a shock. His countenance is a series of creases, much of it hidden under an ugly beard. He is at an AA meeting where he bears his soul and recounts how he lost everything in life that was dear to him. This could easily be Gibson’s own predicament.
His character, Link, is an ex-con who lives in a wilderness trailer park on the outskirts of L.A., where he inks tattoos for a living from his trailer and hangs with no one, but Kirby (William H. Macy), his sponsor and fellow deadbeat.
However, his life takes on a new driving force when Lydia reconnects and the two characters go on the run, which gives Gibson an opportunity to dispense some fast and furious quips.
Along the way Link visits an old friend, the Preacher (Michael Parks), who sells white supremacist merchandise.
‘Blood Father’ is a trashy movie. One feels the need to take a shower after watching it. However, it does capture the Mel Gibson screen persona and, while he may have lost his bearings in life, he has not lost his gift for acting.
FILM: MAX STEEL
CAST: Ben Winchell, Maria Bello, Ana Villafañe, Josh Brener, Andy Garcia
DIRECTOR: Stewart Hendler
16 year old Max McGrath (Ben Winchell) has just moved to a new town and is desperately trying to fit in, when he discovers his body can generate the universe’s most powerful energy. Unknown to Max, a slightly rebellious and hilarious techno-organic extraterrestrial named Steel has been keeping an eye on Max, wanting a piece of Max’s superhuman energy. When they finally meet, they discover that together they form “Max Steel,” a superhero possessing a powerful strength beyond anything known in our world. These two unlikely friends soon find themselves hunted by sinister forces who want to control Max’s powers, as well as an unstoppable enemy from another galaxy.
FILM: ALONE IN BERLIN
CAST: Emma Thompson, Brendan Gleeson, Daniel Brühl, Mikael Persbrandt, Monique Chaumette, Joachim Bissmeier, Katrin Pollitt, Lars Rudolph, Uwe Preuss, Daniel Strässer, Rainer Egger
DIRECTOR: Alexandre Desplat
Berlin, 1940. Working class couple Otto and Anna Quangel receive the news that their only son has lost his life in the battlefield and decide to resist the Nazi regime in their very own way. Soon the Gestapo is hunting “the threat.”