Blu-ray Review: Blood Father starring Mel Gibson

An ex-convict and recovering alcoholic (Mel Gibson) go to extreme measures to save his daughter (Erin Moriarty) after she gets in trouble with a Mexican drug cartel. Also stars Diego Luna, Michael Parks, and William H. Macy.
Directed by Jean-Francois Richet

Based on Peter Craig novel, Blood Father is a surprisingly effective film that gives Mel Gibson the acting showcase he hasn’t had in some time. Gibson is at his best playing likable but broken characters, and his portrayal of John Link, a father struggling to save his daughter (Erin Moriarty) from a drug cartel, is vintage Mel.

If you squint and maybe stretch things a little, Blood Father could actually play like an alternate-universe Lethal Weapon sequel. Imagine if Martin Riggs hit the skids, divorced his wife, lost contact with his kid, and moved back into his trailer in the middle of nowhere. That’s basically the setting for the opening for Blood Father. John Link will remind you quite a bit of Martin Riggs, constantly diving into danger with a sarcastic remark at the ready. The comparisons may be a bit unfair to the film Peter Craig and director Jean Francois Richet have created, but it is meant as a compliment, not a detraction.

Blood Father is, essentially, a chase film wrapped in a tale of broken relationships. The action propels the story, but there is some character development in between the action scenes, albeit brief. Moriarty (who you might remember from Marvel’s Jessica Jones Netflix series) is very good as Lydia, bringing a spark and maturity far beyond her years. She has great chemistry with Gibson, and the only real drawback is we don’t get more interaction between the two. I assume, as Blood Father is based on a book, that author and screenwriter Peter Craig had more material to expand on their relationship. There just isn't as much as you would hope.

Gibson’s performance elevates the film, and his supporting cast of acting veterans compliment him well. William H. Macy has a small but pivotal role, injecting some humor into the solidly dramatic storyline. Michael Parks steals every scene he is in as a militant white supremacist. He has an especially riveting and disturbing scene with Moriarty, where he delivers a chilling monologue.

I was not expecting to enjoy Blood Father as much as I did. It isn’t a perfect film, and while it may not be the best film you’ll see this year, but it will be one of this year's biggest cinematic surprises. The ending tries to wrap things up a bit too neatly, but overall, Blood Father is a satisfying viewing experience.

Video is fairly solid, with a high bitrate making for a sharp image, with little distortion. Even though the digital image is filtered and some grain inserted to give it a grittier look, detail is not affected. The audio is a 5.1 DTS-HDMA mix, which isn’t terribly active throughout the channels, but the clarity is good and dialogue is given proper prominence.

There’s a single special feature on the disc (besides the digital copy), which is disappointing if you are a fan of movie extras. The mini-documentary that is included, however, is entertaining.

The extras are:

“Lost Souls: On the Road with Blood Father” documentary. This very effective documentary provides a candid look at the making of the film. Writer Peter Craig, director Jean-Francois Richet, and even Mel Gibson provide some fantastic interviews and insight. Running time: 27:50

Digital Copy. A code for a digital version of the film, compatible with the Ultraviolet service, is included.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Surprisingly good Blood Father features vintage Mel Gibson 
I thoroughly enjoyed Blood Father, which gives Mel Gibson the showcase he hasn’t had in some time. It’s great to see him back in the saddle. The blu-ray may be a bit bare-bones as far as extras, but at the right price, this is a film worthy of multiple viewings and a place in your collection.

Release Date: October 11, 2016
Rating: R
Running Time: 88 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
Subtitles: English for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, Spanish
Special Features: “Lost Souls: On the Road with Blood Father” featurette, Digital Copy.
Label: Lionsgate

Click here to order Blood Father on Blu-ray from Amazon!

Victor Medina is a freelance writer based in Dallas. He is the editor of several websites, and his writing credits include The Dallas Morning News, Yahoo News, and He has served as a Dallas County election judge and on the Board of Directors of The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza in Dallas. You can follow him on his blog, or on Twitter at @mrvictormedina. He can be reached by email at

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