Friday, March 25, 2011

"Blood Work:" Bloody justice delivered one final time, ala Clint

Title: Blood Work
Released: 2002
Genre: Crime story
Notable for: Clint's (most assuredly) last cop
Coolest thing Clint does: Shoots a serial killer in the arm, tosses him a belt and advises tight pressure around the wound to avoid bleeding to death

Three times during "Blood Work," we yelled out: "Shoot him, Clint!"

And all three times -- Bang! -- Clint blasted away. As an example of cinematic art, "Blood Work" has that going for it.

"Blood Work," sadly, is what today appears certain to be Clint's final role as a cop. To be more precise, he's a famous FBI agent.

At the start of the movie, Clint is busy chasing down a serial killer called "The Code Killer" when he keels over of a heart attack.

"Shoot him, Clint!" we yelped. Grimacing through the pain and daze of cardiac failure, Clint comes through by firing at the fleeing creep. Unfortunately, he merely wounds him.

By the next scene, Clint's had a heart transplant, he is retired and he lives on a boat. He is beguiled back into the crime-fighting game as a private citizen by a young woman who asks Clint to find the man who murdered her sister. The dead sister gave Clint his new heart, so he owes her.

Much to the displeasure of his doctor, Angelica Huston, Clint throws himself into the case. Being a heart transplant recipient gives Clint frequent excuses to take his shirt off and caress his nasty scar. Huston (side note: the real-life daughter of the movie director Clint parodied 12 years earlier in "White Hunter Black Heart") and many other people repeatedly tell Clint he looks like shit. But he keeps working the case.

On the lame pretext that Clint is too weak to drive, he enlists help from the neighbor who lives on the next boat. The neighbor is a goofy surfer-type dude played by Jeff Daniels, who is practically our real neighbor from nearby Chelsea, Michigan.

A couple of times Clint gets close to the killer, and he can sense it. He pulls out a pump-action shotgun to confront a suspicious guy watching from a parked car. The guy speeds off.

"Shoot him, Clint!" And Clint fires several blasts into the car. Miraculously, he misses in much the same way all those bullets missed him in "The Gauntlet."

Even past age 70, Clint is not too old for a romance. He boinks the sister of his heart donor, which is just plain weird.

Jeff Daniels seems fishy, and for good reason. Eventually we see he's the guy who killed Clint's heart donor. He killed her specifically so Clint could get her heart. This was no ordinary gesture of homicidal neighborliness. Jeff is also The Code Killer, and he wants to revive cat-and-mouse games with Clint.

When Clint catches on, Jeff goes super freaky. He expects he can walk away because he kidnapped Clint's new girlfriend.

"Shoot him, Clint!" Bam! He wings Jeff in the arm and forces him to lead Clint to the girl.

This sets up a typical "Dirty Harry" climax in a dark and vacant ship run aground in the bay. When Clint gets the drop on weird Jeff, this time there is no reason to yell. We know he will shoot him dead, and he does.

Shoot him, Clint. Those are three manly words we will miss.

Next up: "Million Dollar Baby."

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed BLood Work. It had a relaxed old-time vibe, like one of those unassuming detective movies from the 60's or early 70's you stumble across on late night tv, end up watching and come away thinking 'Hey, that wasn't bad!' Also, re Clint's age, I was really struck by the scene where he's physically intimidated by a burly Russian less than half his age. It was quite somethings seeing Clint so lost there and testament to the actors willingness to play his age.