Mel Gibson returns to the big screen with one of his best performances in years. It would have been easy for Mr. Gibson to pick a no thought action flick to come back to the screen. Personally I liked his previous film Get the Gringo, and enjoyed him in Expendables 3, but here there is something about that old magic that he had during the 80’s and 90’s. I’m reviewing this film based on the performer Mel, his personal life and comments aren’t on my radar, so don’t comment to me about his horrid remarks or personal views, I don’t agree with them at all. My job is to sit there and judge the movie that he puts in front of me, not his soul.
The film deals with an Ex Con recovering alcoholic who lives in a remote and run down trailer park, his next drink is just around the corner but he’s fighting that corner hard. After years in jail he has lost contact with his ex wife and daughter. The daughter is missing and the ex wife has put up a reward but cares little about it being collected. We find the daughter Lydia has gotten herself mixed up with a Cartel lords nephew who has been stealing from his uncle. Lydia is drinking, doing drugs, and can’t seem to face reality. When she thinks she’s killed the nephew of the drug lord she rings dear old dad and tries to get some help. What follows is a above typical action movie which has an amazing heart and soul.
Mel Gibson plays Link, and life has beaten him down, he’s done 9 years in jail and is on parole. Link is trying to fight the demons of his past, drink, drugs, and being an outlaw, while recovery is import to him and his best friend William H Macy, finding his wayward daughter seems to be all that matters to him. Erin Moriarty plays the daughter, and when you read the synopsis of this film you’ll think that you will be able to write the script, her performance and the script will shock you into enjoying this film. Her life is a mess and her dad can see his life in her future. When the drug guys come to take her out they are left with no choice but to run. William H Macy plays a great comic relief character and all credit to him and Gibson as their chemistry lifts this from a 3 to a four. I have spent the last two nights thinking about if this is a three or four, and it scrapes onto the four mark because of the unexpected script which gives us something a little more than the usual effort for these types of films. The Mexican Cartel as the villains of the piece with a little bit of a Sons of Anarchy feeling for good measure gives us a more textured experience.
Your and mine personal views on Gibson aside he’s great here, he’s starting to slowly slide into roles that at some point in the better years of Hollywood Lee Marvin would have taken. He’s tried that before with Payback, which again underrated and really enjoyable, and here is another role where you could take him out of and place Lee Marvin in. This is normally a bad thing but seeing as Mr. Marvin has left us we’ll cut Mr. Gibson a break.
It’s not breaking much new ground and you want to slap Lydia, but that’s the point, and there are a few other flaws along the way. But flaws aside I left the cinema with a smile on my face and hopeful that his outside the silver screen antics and horrid comments can be put aside and we can get back one of the 90’s better action stars back doing what he does best. The script is the main attraction here though. You know how things are going to end about half way through the film, there is really only one way it can end, but with that being said there is dialogue in there which reminded me of the 80’s series Moonlighting, father and daughter taking over from Maddie and David. The action in the film isn’t the whole point of the film, which helps this raise itself up, it’s about a reforming father trying to help his wayward daughter avoid his mistakes and face up to her choices. Would watch this time and time again.
Director: Jean-François Richet
Writers: Peter Craig, Andrea Berloff
Stars: Mel Gibson, Erin Moriarty, Diego Luna