Road to redemption for Mel.

Mel Gibson’s role in Blood Father may be the perfect response to the image that the actor cultivated as a result of his very public and personal outbursts in recent years. Jean-François Richet’s film doesn’t disregard Old Man Gibson – it panders to him. Actors may not be the characters they play, but it would be too simple an evaluation to suggest that there isn’t an element of the reverse.

Gibson is John Link, a worn out tattoo artist doing his utmost to avoid breaching his sobriety and his parole. To imagine that Link is a warped avenue of penance and rehabilitation for Gibson isn’t much of a stretch.

His estranged daughter, Lydia (Erin Moriarty), arrives at his trailer out of the blue. She has accidentally shot her drug-kingpin boyfriend, Jonah (Diego Luna), and is on the run from the cops and the cartel. Link and Lydia hit the road in a decaying Chevy Nova that would have done Max Rockatansky proud, and embark on a journey of revenge and redemption.

Richet elevates material that might have otherwise smacked too much of post-Taken exploitation. The film is a Western with cars instead of horses, and bikers instead of cowboys. Blood Father is trash, albeit enormously satisfying trash. It’s also a reminder of what a captivating screen presence Gibson can be, personal woes be damned.

In cinemas: September 1, 2016 star-4
Starring: Mel Gibson, Erin Moriarty, Diego Luna
Directed by: Jean-Francois Richet