Blood Father (2016)
An ex-con reunites with his estranged wayward 17-year old daughter to protect her from drug dealers who are trying to kill her.
Self-exiled somewhere in the dusty landscapes on the outskirts of Los Angeles, John Link--a rugged former convict, and now, a tattoo artist struggling to stay sober--sees his quasi-orderly life turn upside down, when he receives a desperate phone call from his estranged daughter, Lydia. On the run from a ruthless Mexican drug cartel, John and Lydia must navigate through a dangerous world of frail allegiances and merciless cut-throats, as they seek shelter in an inhospitable city. Can the grizzled father save his teenage daughter from this nightmare?
- The film opens with cases of bullets being bought at a store by a woman, Lydia (Erin Moriarty). After she buys them, she goes outside and gets into a car with her boyfriend, Jonah (Diego Luna), along with some other men. The men takes the bullets and load their guns as they drive to their location: a rented house. When they get there, the men (except Jonah) head inside. The tenants of the house are paid by Jonah to stash drug money in the walls of the house. Jonah is here because the tenants have apparently stolen said money and he has come to find out where the money is and to kill them. Before Jonah heads inside, he notices that Lydia seems really nervous because of what is about to happen. So, he gives her a line of cocaine to get her mind off of what is going down. He tells her to go watch the backyard where the children are playing.
Lydia is covering the backyard and watching the tenants' children, when she hears gunshots. She heads inside and notices a dead man on the ground and a woman tied up. Jonah is threatening the woman and demands to know what they did with the money. Lydia tries to reason with Jonah about sparing the woman's life, but Jonah is dead set on finding out where the money is and killing the woman. After a heated exchange between the two, Lydia accidentally shoots Jonah in the neck, seemingly killing him. She runs out of the house as Jonah's men hear the shot and rush to his aid.
Many miles away is Lydia's father, John (Mel Gibson), is introduced. John is an ex-convict and recent parolee. He's sharing his testimony at an AA meeting with his sponsor, Kirby (William H. Macy). After the meeting, he goes home to his trailer which also doubles as his work (Missing Link Tattoo parlor). Later that day, the phone rings and he picks it up. It is Lydia on the other end. She tells him that she's in trouble. She tells him where she is and he tells her that he will pick her up in Santa Monica.
That night, he picks her up and drives her back to his place. Since Lydia is coming down from the drugs and persumably alcohol, she passes out on the drive to John's place. When they get to his place, he carries her in and lets her sleep. A few days pass and John notices Lydia having mood swings. Sometimes, she's mellow and, other times, she's wired and talking non-stop. He looks through her purse and finds packets of drugs. He asks her about how long she's been on these drugs and then cleans her purse of all the drugs that he can find.
That night, some gang members drive up to John's place. When they get out of the car, he asks them what they want and they say they want tattoos. John says that he's closed. He closes the door to his trailer and notices Lydia looking out the window at them. Suddenly, bullets start piercing the windows of the trailer, as John and Lydia duck down to avoid being shot. John starts talking about how this isn't going to look good to his parole officer. A gang member sticks his hand inside a broken window to open it, but John grabs his knife and stabs the man's hand several times. A few seconds later, the leader rams his SUV into John's trailer, flipping it onto its side.
Before any more damage can occur, Kirby, along with many of the other residents of the trailer park arrive with shotguns in hand. A standoff occurs, but the gang members proceed to leave, once it becomes clear that they are outnumbered. Hearing police sirens in the distance, John, going against Kirby's wishes for them to stay and talk to the police, leaves with Lydia.
The next day, Lydia tells John the whole story about what happened with Jonah and how she ended up killing him. They stop at a motel, where they are able to rest for a little while. When John goes to sleep for the night, Lydia sneaks out to talk to the motel clerk (Thomas Mann). He tells her that the police are on their way. He's helping them because he likes Lydia.
Lydia calls John on the phone and tells him that they need to leave immediately. John grabs their stuff and heads to the front desk. Lydia tells him that the clerk is helping them. The clerk gives them a key to another room where they can hide out. They are able to make it to the room. John and Lydia watch from the window as the cops search through the rooms.
All of a sudden, a shotgun blast rings loud. John and Lydia watch as a cop gets blasted backwards and tumbles over the rail off the second floor. A tattooed man emerges from the room. John is able to figure out that he's a professional assassin, working for the Mexican drug cartel. John and Lydia are able to make it to a car. John tries to hot-wire it, but this attracts the attention of the assassin. The assassin prepares to shoot at their car, but another cop appears, which the assassin easily kills. John successfully hotwires the car and is able to narrowly avoid the assassin's bullets as they escape the motel parking lot.
John and Lydia go to see one of John's old friends, Preacher (Michael Parks). Preacher served with John in the Vietnam War. It is revealed that John took the rap for something that Preacher did and is the reason why John was serving time in prison. At first, Preacher appears to want to help John and Lydia. However, the next morning, Preacher's wife, Cherise (Dale Dickey) awakens John and Lydia with a gun pointed at them and tells them to get up. She walks them out to a shed out back where Preacher works out of. Preacher tells John that he is going to turn them over to the cops to collect the reward, since he has fallen on hard times. Suddenly, John punches Cherise and turns the tables on them. He gets on a motorcycle and takes off with Lydia.
As they're driving, two assassins appear, trying to kill them on the road. John stops in the middle of the road, pulls out a shotgun and blasts one of the assassins, killing him. The other speeds by. John and Lydia take off after him. John shoots at the assassin, but misses. Trying to avoid being shot, the assassin drives into the opposite lane and collides head-on with a truck, killing him.
John and Lydia take refuge at another motel, where Lydia procedes to dye her hair blonde and John shaves off his beard. He tells Lydia that he has to go see someone, but to call him if anything happens.
John goes to see his old friend, Arturo (Miguel Sandoval), in prison. Arturo tells him about Jonah. He tells him that Jonah was, himself, stealing the money from the stash houses and framing the tenants.
Back at the motel, Lydia gets a call from Kirby, telling her that she needs to go to a public place. She goes to a movie theater, where she gets a call. She picks up the phone and hears Jonah's voice. He's still alive, despite being shot in the throat. He tells her that he had to have extensive surgery in order to survive. He appears behind her. She makes a dash to the parking lot, where one of Jonah's men knocks her unconscious. They throw her in the backseat and escape.
John gets a call. He picks up the phone and Jonah tells him that they have Lydia. Jonah also has Kirby too. Jonah puts Kirby on the phone. A visibly beaten Kirby tells John that he tried, but that he's sorry. One of Jonah's men shoots Kirby multiple times, killing him.
John gets very angry and tells them that he killed his best friend. Jonah tells John that he shouldn't have picked a snitch for a sponsor. John tells Jonah that he knows everything about him and that he will tell his uncle (who's in the Mexican drug cartel) everything about how he's been stealing all of the money for himself, unless he sees Lydia. John and Jonah are able to arrange a meet.
John goes back to Preacher's, where he grabs some grenades and a landmine and puts it in a bag. Preacher appears with a gun and tells John that he has guts coming back, to which John suddenly shoots Preacher dead.
John goes to the meet on his motorcycle. At the location in the desert, John parks his motorcycle in front of Jonah's SUV, blocking it from leaving. John is able to plant the landmine against his motorcycle, that way if the motorcycle is moved, the landmine goes off.
Jonah's men strip John of any weapons and put him in the backseat of the SUV with Lydia. As Jonah attempts to drive off, he tells his men to go move to John's bike. Two of his men go to move the bike and, unknowingly, set off the landmine, killing them. John, taking advantage of the distraction, fights with Jonah and another member of his gang in the SUV. Jonah gets out of the SUV, as John bites off part of the gang member's ear. John tries to wrangle the gun out of the gang member's hand, but is able to use it to shoot Jonah in the shoulder, sending him to the ground. John gets the gun and shoots the gang member through the head, killing him. Jonah gets up and shoots at John, but John uses the dead gang member's body as a shield. Jonah runs off into the desert.
John rips the tape off of Lydia's hands. He gets out of the SUV, but is suddenly shot in the stomach by the assassin from the motel. John and Lydia duck behind Jonah's SUV. John urges Lydia to go while he provides cover, but she tells him that she's not leaving him. John and Lydia make a run to another car. As they're running, John shoots back at the assassin, hitting him. John pushes Lydia out of the way, as the assassin takes another shot at them. John gets shot again. He falls to the ground.
Lydia gets into the car and drives it to John, providing cover from the assassin's bullets. Lydia goes over to John and he cradles her in his arms. He notices, under the car, the assassin approaching them. The assassin tries to sneak up on them, but when he comes to where John and Lydia supposedly are, they're not there. He looks over and sees John alongside the car. John shoots the assassin in the head, killing him, but not before the assassin gets a couple of shots off at John, hitting him a third time.
John gets happy that he got the drop on the assassin. John looks down and notices all the blood on him, gets mad and shoots the dead assassin again. John tells Lydia that he loves her, as he dies.
Police cars arrive and arrest Jonah. He is taken to prison. Some time later, he is approached by Arturo and his prison gang, where he will presumably be killed.
In the final scene, Lydia is shown at an AA meeting where she shares: "I've been sober a year, but I miss my Dad so much that sometimes I can't sleep at night, but I tell myself that he's watching over me. Sometimes, there's this shame that almost breaks my back, but I tell myself, when you owe your life to someone, you better live it... So I just say thank you."
Fade to black.