Mel Gibson in Blood Father.

Mel Gibson is an asshole, but he can act with the best of them—something he proves yet again in Blood Father.

As Link—an ex-con with a tattoo parlor in his trailer and a missing daughter (Erin Moriarty)—Gibson is a stunning, grizzly marvel, elevating mediocre material into something quite watchable.

When the missing daughter gets herself into major trouble, she returns to the grid by giving Link a call. Having never really known his daughter, Link is determined to be the dad he never was (thanks to a seven-year prison stint)—and he goes into super-protective mode. The two wind up on the run from a drug cartel, and that leads to Gibson, on a motorcycle, blowing people away with a shotgun.

Blood Father is a tour de force for Gibson, whose ranting inside Link’s trailer as it is getting shot up might be the best piece of acting he’s ever put forth. Director Jean-Francois Richet lucked out when he cast Gibson as this character, a man desperately in search of redemption. It suits Gibson very well at this time; I can’t think of an actor who would’ve done a better job with this material.

On paper, this script looks like a million movies that came before it, but the cast makes it rise above the rest. William H. Macy is reliably good as Link’s sponsor, while Moriarty holds her own against the insane Gibson. Meanwhile, Michael Parks kills it as a former friend of Link’s who is a true bastard.

Should choose to watch Blood Father, you will be pleasantly surprised.

Blood Father is available via online sources including iTunes and