Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Jean-François Richet|
|Based on||Blood Father
by Peter Craig
|Music by||Sven Faulconer|
|Edited by||Steven Rosenblum|
|Distributed by||SND Films|
|Box office||$4.8 million|
Blood Father is a 2016 English-language French action crime thriller film directed by Jean-François Richet, written by Peter Craig based on his novel of the same name, and starring Mel Gibson, Erin Moriarty, Diego Luna, Michael Parks and William H. Macy.
Lydia (Erin Moriarty) buys bullets at a megastore for her boyfriend Jonah (Diego Luna) and his gang. After loading up, the gang goes to kill a tenant family who apparently stole money stashed in the walls of their rented house. After killing a tenant, Jonah ties up another and forces Lydia to kill her. However, Lydia accidentally shoots Jonah in the neck, apparently killing him, and escapes the crime scene. She contacts her estranged father John (Mel Gibson), an ex-convict and recovering alcoholic out on parole after serving seven years in prison. He picks up Lydia, takes her back to his trailer house, and learns that she is not only a drug addict but also an alcoholic. Some days pass by uneventfully, although Lydia receives death threat messages from the gang members.
One night, members of Jonah's gang come to John's house. After failing to force themselves in, they open fire at the house and ram it with their SUV. When John's neighbor and sponsor Kirby (William H. Macy) and other armed residents rush to intervene, the gang retreats. Reasoning that giving Lydia up to the police will put her in danger, John flees with her. Lydia tells John about her life after running away from home and about Jonah, who turns out to be a well-connected member of a Mexican drug cartel. The two rest at a motel, where Lydia learns that she and John have been linked to the tenants' deaths. They narrowly escape a sicario sent by the cartel.
John attempts to ask for a favor from his former mentor and friend, Preacher (Michael Parks), who makes a living by collecting and selling war memorabilia. Preacher agrees to help, but changes his mind after learning of the reward for turning in Lydia. John overpowers Preacher and his wife and escapes with Lydia on a 1997 Harley Softail. They are pursued by two of Preacher's men, who are both killed in the chase.
John travels to a prison where he meets Arturo, his former cellmate, to ask about Jonah's connections. He learns that Jonah himself stole the money from his cartel, blamed the tenants, and then murdered them to cover his tracks. At the motel alone, Lydia receives a call from Kirby, who tells her that she is in danger and advises her to head to a crowded public place like a theater. There Lydia is confronted by Jonah who had survived his injury and, along with his gang, abducts her. After leaving the prison, John calls Kirby, but Jonah answers the phone, reveals that he has captured Kirby, and kills him. John warns Jonah against harming Lydia, citing his knowledge of his connections. John offers up his life for his daughter, and Jonah arranges to meet at a secluded spot in the desert.
John goes back to Preacher's place and picks up a landmine and some grenades. He arrives at the meeting spot, and improvises a booby trap with his bike and the landmine. Jonah's men tie John up and put him in a car. As they prepare to leave, two of Jonah's men are killed by the trap. John kills the gang member inside the vehicle, but Jonah escapes. The sicario, having taken position at a vantage point, wounds John. Taking cover behind a car, John forces the sicario to get closer and the two fatally shoot each other. Jonah is arrested, incarcerated, and meets a visibly hostile prison gang led by Arturo, who smiles knowingly, implying that Jonah will be killed.
- Mel Gibson as John Link, Lydia’s father an American war veteran and ex-con
- Erin Moriarty as Lydia Link, Link's daughter
- William H. Macy as Kirby Curtis, Link's sponsor
- Diego Luna as Jonah Pincerna, Lydia’s boyfriend
- Thomas Mann as Jason
- Dale Dickey as Cherise
- Michael Parks as Preacher
- Daniel Moncada as Choop, the leader of the drug dealers
- Raoul Trujillo as a cleaner
- Richard Cabral as Joker
- Miguel Sandoval as Arturo Rios
On 28 March 2014, Mel Gibson was in final talks to join the action thriller film Blood Father with Jean-François Richet as director and Peter Craig wrote the script based on his own novel of the same name, while Why Not Productions and Chris Briggs would be producing the film. On 24 April, Erin Moriarty was set to co-star in the film as Gibson's character's daughter. On 5 May, it was announced that Wild Bunch had come aboard to distribute the film worldwide. On 6 June, Richard Cabral joined the film to play Joker, a tough enforcer for the Mexican Mafia. On 14 June, William H. Macy tweeted that he would be starring alongside Gibson in the film. On 17 June, Elisabeth Röhm signed on to star in the film as Gibson's estranged wife but her role was cut from the final film.
Principal photography began on 5 June 2014, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. On 23 June, Gibson was spotted filming some arresting scenes at Albuquerque jail. After a month of shooting, the production wrapped-up on 3 July 2014.
In December 2014, Lionsgate acquired the US rights to the film. Blood Father had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival on 21 May 2016. It was released in the United States on 12 August 2016.
Blood Father received positive reviews from film critics. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an approval rating of 89% approval rating on based on reviews from 80 critics, with an average rating of 6.5/10. The site's critical consensus states: "Blood Father meets every expectation a film fan could have for a latter-day Mel Gibson action thriller with its title -- and even, in some respects, handily exceeds them." Metacritic gives the film a weighted average score of 66 out of 100, based on reviews from 16 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Owen Glierberman of Variety Magazine wrote: "Blood Father is trash, but it does capture what an accomplished and winning actor Mel Gibson can be" and that the film "gives him the chance to show that he's still got it."
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