When we meet ex-con John Link (Mel Gibson), he’s in an AA meeting confessing his sins. Any connection to be made between this role and the real-life dramas Gibson has gone through over the last few years is 100% intentional – especially now that Gibson looks like a man who’s been through hell.
He’s managed to put his low-rent life back together of sorts – he’s living in a trailer park working as a tattoo artist – and meanwhile his missing hellraiser daughter Lydia (Erin Moriarty) has been getting into her own brand of trouble.
When she arrives on Link’s door looking for help, it’s a toss-up as to who’s in more trouble. Well, not really, considering she has the Mexican Cartel after her, which gives Link plenty of opportunity to work his frustrations out through cathartic violence.
This is firmly a B-movie about violent redemption but it’s a well-made one, with director Jean-François Richet giving the whole thing a thick layer of grime and grit. Gibson and Moriarty have good chemistry together, while the supporting cast (including William H Macy and Robert Parks) provide some spark between the slick action sequences. Gibson’s still got it: even as a low-down, beat-up scum, he’s charismatic as hell.
Reviewed by Anthony Morris