Theatrical Release: August 12, 2016 (limited)
Blu Ray Release: October 11, 2016
Director: Jean-Francois Richet
Review by James Klein
Poor Mel. Once one of the biggest stars in Hollywood has now in recent years become one of the most hated men in Hollywood. Since his DUI arrest and outbursts with his now ex-wife (which were illegally recorded I might add), Mel quickly became shunned from the Hollywood elite. Since his arrest he has been in The Beaver, Get the Gringo, Machete Kills, and The Expendables 3, all of which under performed at the box office. I even know people who absolutely refuse to even see his directorial WWII drama Hacksaw Ridge (although that did fairly well at the box office, Mel is nowhere to be seen). And now comes his newest film, Blood Father which was dumped by Lionsgate as a very limited release and quickly thrown on VOD and blu ray. In a world where we forgive celebrities such as R. Kelly or Roman Polanski who have done far worse, Mel has not been able to escape the past and seems to be paying for his sins. But does Blood Father really deserve a bigger audience?
Mel plays Link, an ex-con and recovering alcoholic who now resides quietly in a small desert trailer park community as a local tattoo artist. He spends his time going to AA meetings with his sponsor Kirky (William H. Macy) with the hopes of one day meeting up with his estranged daughter Lydia. One day he gets the dreaded phone call and its Lydia who is in trouble. On the run after believing she killed her boyfriend, Lydia stays with Link as he tries to get her clean and sober until her ex boyfriend’s gang buddies come looking for Lydia. That is when Mad Mel kicks in, protecting his daughter any way he can.
I love revenge films, always have. It’s a simple genre but one that tends to work. It is an escapist fantasy to take revenge on the ones who have wronged or hurt oneself so I have always enjoyed the genre, forgiving its flaws. One of those flaws is cliches and Blood Father has plenty of that. A child could predict the outcome to this movie and its simple premise is one everyone has seen before. Even the action sequences while entertaining are really nothing new. The cliches don’t stop there as there are sudden, jarring moments where Link and Lydia open up to one another while bloodshed is taking place right in front of them. When Link tells his daughter to stay put, she cries out to him that he left her before so why should she stay put. Ugh.
While Mel does have some great moments and can play rage and pain all too well, its his co-star Erin Moriarty as Lydia who almost sinks this picture. She is really awful and her delivery of dialog is plain out bad. Even her facial reactions seems to be phony. This isn’t the stage, tone it down a little! Perhaps this can be blamed on French director Jean-Francois Richet who may not be as experienced directing young talent. Thankfully the supporting cast is rather good, with a small but memorable role by Michael Parks as a former friend to Link that really stands out. Seeing two ousted Hollywood heavyweights act together is enjoyable to watch and these men prove that in this day and age of pussies and millennials, there’s still a few bad asses left.
Lionsgate’s blu ray of Blood Father is quite good but that is expected for all new releases. It better look perfect and for the most part it does. I do have an issue with the 5.1 sound mix as I thought the dialog was way too quiet but yet the gunshots and car crashes and explosions were quite loud. I caught myself turning up the volume and turning it down more often than I should. Lionsgate didn’t provide much in the way of special features aside from a 30 minute featurette with the actors, writer and director on set talking about the production and kissing each others ass. Mel even comes off as a little strange which I can only imagine will make his critics lick their chops when dissing the man. However he was born to play the role of Link and proves once again that he is not only an action star but a damn fine actor.
Blood Father is not the return I would have liked for Mel. While he is great in the role, the movie’s filled with too many cliches and uninspiring action sequences along with a poor co-star for me to want to watch again.
Blu Ray Rating: