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Overall Rating

Awesome: 12.31%
Worth A Look: 26.15%
Pretty Bad: 15.38%
Total Crap: 13.85%

6 reviews, 29 user ratings

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Blood Work
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by Scott Weinberg

"How Eastwood keeps busy between Unforgivens and Million Dollar Babys."
3 stars

One can’t fault a peanut butter & jelly sandwich for being predictable; there’s a certain comfortable familiarity with the sandwich that transcends the fact that you’ve probably eaten 5,000 of them throughout your life. Clint Eastwood’s "Blood Work" is a lot like a well-made PB & J: familiar, fairly uneventful and boasting no real surprises – but still quite tasty and inviting all the same.

Terry McCaleb is an aging FBI agent, and one who’s suffered an embarrassing heart attack while in pursuit of a serial killer. Facing retirement after his recovery, McCaleb attaches himself to one of those “last cases” that movie cops are so fond of and before too long he’s chest-deep in chases, clues and the inevitably unpleasant local cops. (That one victim was the woman who donated McCaleb’s new heart is the impetus for the aged agent’s involvement.)

Fortunately the whole “I have her heart!” theme is mentioned only as a plot point and is not done with the cloying silliness of Bonnie Hunt’s rom-com Return to Me. Still, if the synopsis sounds like something usually found as part of a made-for-TV flick, it’s the presence of Eastwood (both behind the camera and in front) that elevates the material into a solid piece of entertainment. A film can be familiar and still worth seeing; it’s just kind of rare.

Eastwood’s supporting cast is a mixed bag at best: Jeff Daniels and Angelica Huston have made a career out of salvaging underwritten roles and each does great work here. Conversely, Wanda De Jesus (as Eastwood’s appropriately-aged love interest) often seems lost, while Paul Rodriguez gives a truly obnoxious performance as a loud-mouthed local cop.

Chalk it up to Eastwood’s expertise behind the camera, as Blood Work is easily more entertaining than it has any right to be. There’s very little here that you haven’t seen before, yet the celebrated actor/director somehow manages to make such potentially tiresome material into something considerably better than the TV flick it clearly looks like.

"Blood Work" is proof positive that a seasoned filmmaker (one who actually cares about the craft of filmmaking) can sometimes breathe new life into even the hoariest of cop-flick contrivances.

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originally posted: 04/02/05 15:45:09
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User Comments

1/29/18 Dan Watchable, but it suffers from 2 glaring faults: Lethargic pacing & an obvious culprit. 3 stars
12/29/17 morris campbell obvious meh murder mystery 1 stars
9/06/10 Josie Cotton is a goddess The murderer is easy to guess, but it's well worth watching non the less 4 stars
1/03/10 Jeff Wilder Sadly Eastwood missed with this one. 2 stars
1/27/09 Shaun Wallner Pure Entertainment! 4 stars
11/12/08 christine chamonix Clint is looking for emotional trueblue life story 4 stars
9/28/07 mr.mike liked it.didn't guess the killer-i'm a boob! 4 stars
6/12/06 William Goss A meh murder mystery movie. 3 stars
11/27/05 Indrid Cold Unremarkable, surprisingly sloppy acting and direction. 3 stars
10/03/05 Buddy Noone good for us old-time Eastwood fans 4 stars
8/30/05 ES Predictable doesn't begin to describe it, its as transparent as 'Kiss the girls' 1 stars
4/19/05 Maril Smith Too predictable and Eastwood does a poor acting job. 2 stars
3/22/05 tatum Eastwood puts no effort in here; completely average 3 stars
3/06/05 R.W. Welch Somewhat overplotted aging detective yarn. Moderately entertaining. 4 stars
12/22/04 albert another great eastwood job,as usual. 5 stars
12/04/04 Phil M. Aficionado Contrived and formulaic pap. 2 stars
10/30/04 HL Made for TVish & You know who the bad guy is.. 3 stars
3/23/04 KGB This should've been a 'Dirty' Harry flick 4 stars
6/04/03 Picky critic Might hold your attention for 2 hours, but very forgettable. Run-of-the-mill Hollywood 2 stars
4/01/03 Chris Barts Mildly interesting, if only to see an actor playing so deliberately against type. 4 stars
3/01/03 Monday Morning Very average, but I'd like to rail that Wanda de Jesus till her ears bleed. 3 stars
1/15/03 John Bale Aged Eastwood, Jeff (Dumb) Daniels, and a new ending don't save a pedestrian film 3 stars
1/14/03 Paul Coleman Clint still hasn't lost it. This was a good, above-average thriller. 4 stars
1/11/03 mwildema that romance thing needs to be removed 4 stars
11/21/02 Reini Urban Okay, only occasional laughs when he undresses. 3 stars
9/24/02 marco guerra Clint should only direct,'cause he shows age and tireness acting. 3 stars
8/24/02 ^ZuLu^ stupid, absolutely predictable and no tension 1 stars
8/18/02 Craig Not Clint's best, but it feels like home. Good job, Mr. E 4 stars
8/17/02 Peter Brook Crap last scene, some clichés, predictable twists. But Clint! It has Clint! 5 stars
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  09-Aug-2002 (R)



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