A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Blood Father is an intense, mature action film starring Mel Gibson as a father trying to protect his teen daughter. Expect lots of guns and shooting, with bloody wounds and character deaths. Violence also includes constant threats, some fighting, and several crashes and explosions. There are consequences for the violence, but it's also presented in a way that seems intended to make audiences cheer for the death and destruction. Language is extremely strong, with many uses of "f--k" and lots of other words. Both father and daughter are addicts; he's a recovering alcoholic, and she's shown both drunk and snorting cocaine before she quits. A couple kisses, and there's some flirting. The movie does touch on some themes/messages that are worthy of discussion, but it's still only recommended for older teens and up.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In BLOOD FATHER, runaway teen Lydia Link (Erin Moriarty) has become involved a little too deeply with her boyfriend, Jonah (Diego Luna), a member of a drug cartel. After a job goes badly, Lydia is in trouble, addicted to drugs, and hunted. She has nowhere to turn except her father, John (Mel Gibson). An ex-con and a recovering alcoholic, John is on parole and trying to stay out of trouble, but when his daughter calls, he can't refuse. Defending himself against some attacking punks, John hits the road with Lydia, looking for help wherever they can find it. Just as things begin to look their bleakest, Lydia is taken, and John must head into the desert for a final, deadly showdown.
Is it any good?
This well-made action-chase movie could have easily fallen apart along its well-worn story grooves, but nifty characters and electric dialogue, along with intense action, keep it alive. It's been decades since Mel Gibson has found a role that really fits him well, but he does it in Blood Father, indulging in his penchant for slapdash humor, pent-up rage, and martyrdom in a way that feels familiar, as if this were a Lethal Weapon movie.
Gibson's onscreen chemistry with Moriarty is strong enough to pull us in, and a roster of character actors add splashes of color; in other words, the scenes without fighting and shooting are just as interesting as the ones with them. It's sometimes easy to see the plot mechanics kicking into gear, but director Jean-Francois Richet (Assault on Precinct 13) and screenwriters Andrea Berloff and Peter Craig (who adapted Craig's novel) keep things tightly paced and coiled.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Blood Father's violence. How does it make you feel? What's the impact of media violence on kids? Does the main character face consequences for his actions? Why is that important?
In one scene, a teen girl buys several boxes of ammunition but is asked to produce an ID when she wants to buy cigarettes. What do you think the movie is trying to say with this sequence?
In another scene, a father and daughter encounter several Mexican immigrants. What does the film have to say about them? Does it offer more than one point of view?
- In theaters: August 12, 2016
- On DVD or streaming: October 11, 2016
- Cast: Mel Gibson, Erin Moriarty, Diego Luna
- Director: Jean-Francois Richet
- Studio: Lionsgate
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Run time: 88 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong violence, language throughout and brief drug use
- Last updated: December 10, 2020
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