A few tweaks here and there, and these guys could be a force to be reckoned with.
Gibson may have messed up a few times in his personal life, but I don’t know the man, whatever he’s said or done hasn’t really bothered me like it’s bothered people who have gone so far to boycott his movies and ensure that he never makes the big time again (hello Hollywood).
But one thing that will never change is the fact that he’s a marvellous screen presence, a bona fide movie star, and here he’s the Mel Gibson that we remember from the late eighties/early nineties, albeit with a few more lines..
An ex-con tattoo artist, John Link, fights to protect his estranged teenage daughter, who is being hunted by a Mexican drug cartel, after getting mixed up in her boyfriend’s criminal schemes.
Josh goes back to the past he was trying to forget in order to protect him, and his daughter…
Even though this is easily one of the films of the year, and Gibson’s best performance in nearly fifteen years, don’t expect it to be paying at a cinema near you anytime soon, unless you live in the capital, because of what he’s done in the past, he’s been subliminally blacklisted.
And he knows this, hence the choice of role he’s taken for this. This is his metaphorical redemption film, Link has done very bad things in the past, and he’s trying to change his ways, but as life imitates art, as soon as he shows his face, the bad times come a rolling back, and here it’s in the shape of her daughter.
But she’s not the problem, it’s the entourage of rage that is following her to expel their wrath, and only daddy can help. The paternal chemistry between Gibson and Moriarty here is the foundation of as to why to film is so brilliant. The first time they meet after so many years just feels so real, the joy and at the same time despair of meeting his daughter again, but in a terrible situation just shows how good of an actor he is.
This is Gibson as you remember him in Lethal Weapon, Payback, and even a little Mad Max. A total bada$$ with a twinkle in his eye and always time for a pun, even in the middle of gunfight.
So the majority of the film is Link trying to make up, for years of not being there in a very short time, whilst on the run from some very nasty people. Link tries to get help from some of his old ‘Links’, but they prove to cause more harm than good, especially Michael Parks, who proves here that he is the go to guy for the bizarre.
Gibson is seriously back to his best here, it’s quick moving, funny at times (though it’s not going for the buddy buddy film, it’s a totally serious film with a few witty asides) and Link is probably more anti-hero than Porter in Payback.
If the old adage, ‘they must have one last great performance in them’, is anything to go by, then this must be the most relevant film for that.
If Gibson never makes another film, he’s finished on a wonderfully perfect note.
I urge you to see it.