Blood Father is Dollar-Store Cartel-Infused Mad Max

Set in the dry, barren deserts of southern California, Blood Father is as dull as the landscapes that fill the screen.

(You've been warned. However, if you’re a die-hard Mel Gibson fan, you can catch this thriller out at the Atlas Cinemas in Mentor, where it opens Thursday night.)

Chronicling the harrowing journey of a girl and her father as they literally run for their lives, Blood Father seems like a great film at first. It opens with unique camera angles and what appears to be a Bonnie and Clyde-esque relationship between Lydia (Erin Moriarty) and her drug-cartel boyfriend (Diego Luna). The dialogue, actions and violence are perfectly timed to maximize suspense to the point where your heart can’t possibly beat any faster; however, when Lydia finds her way back to her estranged criminal father (Mel Gibson) after accidentally shooting her boyfriend, the film deteriorates.

What seemed like a promising premise — a girl fleeing for her life and rekindling her relationship with her dad — ultimately turned into that of a girl and her father running for no good reason. Because other than the fact that Lydia shot her boyfriend, it wasn’t really clear why 20 guys were hunting her down to the extent that they were.

Ninety minutes were wasted on violent, high-intensity speed chases. There was very little dialogue and the dry California landscape was a tedious backdrop. The strongest component of the film might be the acting, but the best character, Kirby (William H. Macy), is only featured in a few scenes. Aside from Macy, Gibson gives a solid performance as a macho, yet caring father to Lydia. However, it isn’t a performance that will garner Gibson any accolades.

No back-story was provided, the characters were never fully developed and there seemed to be no premise other than that of running away from some random guys with guns. Despite these weaknesses, Blood Father is undoubtedly (occasionally) entertaining. But you can't help feeling disappointed with the outcome, given its early potential.
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