Starring: Mel Gibson, Erin Moriarty, Diego Luna, William H Macy
Director: Jean-Francois Richet
Link (Gibson) is an ex-con and recovering alcoholic who is trying to go straight and run his tattooing business out of his crumbling trailer, when his missing 17 year old daughter Lydia (Moriarty) resurfaces. At first he is just happy to have her back in his life, but he soon realises that she’s in some very serious trouble.
Not only is Lydia using hard drugs, she has managed to get involved with a man who is a member of a powerful drug cartel, who are now on her tail for her involvement in a shooting and missing drug money.
Link is definitely going to violate parole.
Mel Gibson has had a bad reputation for a while, and it’s nice to see him back on track, doing what he was so good at before he got drunk too many times and made racial slurs and abused his ex-girlfriend on those infamous tapes. Here, I can’t help but feel like he’s trying to redeem himself in a film about a man who has been a bad husband and father, but is cleaning himself up and wants to protect his daughter. But that said, watching the film it rarely feels too on the nose. There are a couple of conversations between father and daughter that feel a bit wooden and preachy, but they certainly don’t dominate or ruin the film.
Gibson and Moriarty have a good chemistry, and are both very good in this film. It functions as a basic actioner, and perhaps doesn’t do anything too original with the action hero protecting the innocent on a road trip format, but on the whole, it just works. It’s entertaining, and the relationship that Lydia has with her ex is actually quite well drawn in the way that she makes excuses for him and tells an overly rose coloured story of how they met when we have seen how he is. Link calls is “classic battered wife” at one point, and it is, but not a shallowly drawn one. The conversation is often had that unless she changes and faces her own problems, she will continue to enter or attract these relationships, without victim blaming too much. Not a bad insight for an action film, really.
The drug dealers with their overly tattooed henchmen are inexorable enemies, and are suitably intimidating, whilst William H Macy as Link’s AA Sponsor is both humorous and poignant, though he deserves more screen time. All in all, it’s not a game changer, but it’s a pretty good action film, and it’s great to see a more grizzled, potentially wiser Gibson back in the proverbial saddle.
See It If: you like action movies or Mel Gibson, it’s a fun ride.