Blood Work Blu-ray Review
Jumping directly into a homicide, BLOOD WORK begins at the scene of the crime where a puzzling note is written specifically toward Detective Terry McCaleb (Clint Eastwood). When recognizing the murderer because he is still foolishly wearing the bloody shoes, McCaleb takes off after him. Why no one else from the police department jump on the pursuit to help the old guy out is beyond me. All much younger, standing around on duty mind you, there is literally a shot showing two fellow detectives look at each other and shrug. McCaleb has a heart attack and the perp gets away. BLOOD WORK’s opening is full of ridiculous improbabilities and is an insult to our law enforcement but at times manages to still be a fairly compelling crime drama.
Detective McCaleb is forced into retirement after receiving the aforementioned heart attack. Two years and a heart transplant later, McCaleb finds himself relaxing on his houseboat full of guilt for receiving a recently murdered woman’s heart. The sister of the deceased persuades McCaleb to help track down the murderer that the police have failed to find. Without a badge, McCaleb must ask for a few favors elsewhere as he dives into this mystery that is much closer to his heart than initially realized.
Besides the rough opening, there are definitely questionable choices when it comes to the other characters. Angelica Huston is completely unnecessary in a throw away role as McCaleb’s doctor. Paul Rodriguez plays a detective who is inexplicably angry and unhelpful the entire time. Jeff Daniels is decent as McCaleb’s goofy next door boat neighbor and part time driver, Buddy. Many of these parts are as if this is what is expected in movies without giving the character any depth, which is surprising since Eastwood is a master with actors and characters. The exception does come with Clint Eastwood himself, who is a commanding presence once again. And even for his age, with the slightest of words and a look he can intimidate and control every scene he comes in contact with.
Because of Eastwood’s presence the film progresses positively. Engaging and thrilling, the detective work succeeds even if in the process it diminishes the unbelievebly poor work from all the other officers. It’s as if the whole police force can’t do their job right except for Eastwood’s McCaleb despite being retired. If you are able to overlook these unnecessary traits in the supporting characters, the actual detective work process will keep you interested.
There is no question that Clint Eastwood is great. He is absolutely electric in front of the camera and has become a master behind it as well. It’s hard to believe that the relatively mild BLOOD WORK was made in 2002, a year before directing the emotional MYSTIC RIVER and two years before Best Picture winner MILLION DOLLAR BABY. The film works in a very basic way, setting up the characters, walking through the plot and revealing a little of the mystery as it goes. But the characters are too one dimensional, the plot is far too conventional and the mystery is a little too predictable for a film that came out in the 2000’s.
Video: (1080p, 2.40:1) The picture for BLOOD WORK looks crisp and clean.
Audio: (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) The audio is terrific picking up all the dialogue and sounds clearly.
Making Blood Work (18:08): This is a typical behind-the-scenes featurette full of cast and crew interviews about the story, characters and other movie information.
A Conversation in Spanish with Clint Eastwood, Wanda De Jesus and Paul Rodriguez (14:18): De Jesus and Rodriguez do character interviews for what I can only guess is for a Spanish network as they are only speaking Spanish with subtitles provided. Eastwood joins them and all three talk a little more about BLOOD WORK in English.