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Blood Work Review

By Shawn McKenzie 08/14/2002

Is it a sad thing when an action star doesnít know when to quit?  It can be when that action star doesnít acknowledge their true age.  In the case of Blood Work, Clint Eastwood does acknowledge his ageÖalmost.

 

Blood Work is the story of Terry McCaleb (Eastwood), a former FBI agent who has retired after having a near-fatal heart attack after trying to catch a killer in a foot chase.  He is given a new heart from the murdered sister of Graciella Rivers (Wanda De Jesus.)  Graciella tracks him down and guilts him into investigating the murder of her sister.  Figuring he owed her sister that much because he now had her heart, Terry looks into the case, despite the objections of his physician Dr. Bonnie Fox (Anjelica Huston.)  He tries to get some cooperation from two L.A. detectives Ronaldo Arrango and John Waller (Paul Rodriguez and Dylan Walsh), who, except for a few vital plot points, are mainly comic relief.  He gets the most cooperation from a former coworker in the FBI, Agent Jaye Winston (Tina Lifford.)  Since he canít drive, his goofy neighbor Buddy Noone (Jeff Daniels) drives him around.  As he gets deeper and deeper into the case, he starts to fall in love with Graciella, who now has the responsibility of taking care of her sisterís son Raymond (Mason Lucero.)  The twists and turns make Terry realize that he has been close to the killer for some time.

 

Why do I say almost?  I liked the fact that Eastwood (who also directed and produced the movie) portrayed a character that realized he wasnít invincible and that trying to do things a younger man could do might kill him.  The whole heart problem plot point evidences that.  Where I think it forgets that point is little other things in the movie, but sometimes I am a stickler for continuity.  At the beginning of the movie when he is chasing the killer, he is hardly winded before he has his heart attack.  Why is that?  You would think that he would at least be panting!  My only guess is that the adrenaline rush he got from chasing the killer finally caught up with him.  Also, would a man in his seventies (Eastwood is 72 to be exact) really attract a 30-something year old woman?  Even if we accepted that plot point (hey, it worked for Anna Nicole Smith), how come Terry canít run or drive, but he can have sex?  Oh well.

 

Other than those unbelievable parts, the movie was entertaining, if a little standard.  For some reason I felt that Eastwood raised his own bar a little too high when he swept the Oscars with his 1992 movie Unforgiven.  I now seem to think he has to give Oscar-worthy stories to the world.  I should stop that.  Blood Work isnít Oscar-worthy, because it isnít necessarily innovative or creative, but it is a good time at the theater.  Some plot points you can see coming a long ways away and some will really surprise you (or at least it did me), but donít expect to see a murder mystery masterpiece on the scale of Se7en or The Usual Suspects.

 

The days of Dirty Harry may be gone, but if you are looking for good old (and I do stress old) Clint to do what he does best, go see Blood WorkÖthen go take your heart pills.  Better safe than sorry!

1/2

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