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Blood Out (Blu-ray Review)

Blood Out delivers what it can, but that is not very much.  I do not tend to put much stock into films like this for good reason; they tend to suck.  A direct-to-blu-ray action flick implies a few things – the distributors could not find a way to properly market the film, a good enough deal could not be made to obtain a theatrical release, or the realization of how bad the film is was enough to cancel plans to move further with getting the film out there for wider marketing. Occasionally, you have the direct-to-blu-ray flick that is an unnecessary sequel to a film that was popular enough in home markets (Death Race, Smoking Aces), but even then, it is not much to write home about.  Really, these films can just kind of serve just a few purposes – the actors get a little bit of money and the directors and DPs involved have a flick to put on their resume to show off potential talent for future work.  I can easily say that the film reaches some moments of slick flashiness, but there is really nothing to this movie that would make me want to recommend it, unless you want a really cheesy night watching a fairly unoriginal, gritty cop movie.

Film:

The summary on the back of the blu-ray case manages to get this simple plot just right – “When big-city detectives (including Curtis “50-Cent” Jackson) refuse to further investigate his kid brother’s gang-related murder, small-town sheriff Michael Spencer (Luke Goss) drops the badge and goes undercover to find his brother’s killer and avenge his death.”  The undercover world that Spencer enters into includes seedy crime folk such as Vinnie Jones looking perpetually angry, the new 90210’s Annalynne McCord, and puffy, long-haired Val Kilmer.  Needless to say, Spencer is in for the fight of his life if he wants to find justice and get out alive.

This movie is just a mess of standard cop/gangster movie clichés, over-the-top grittiness, flashy action moments, and other things to propel the film into further ridiculous territory.  With that said, I do not even really want to focus on this aspect.  Instead, I would rather talk about the cover art for the blu-ray of this film.  Beaming right at me, when I look at the box, is the gaze of 50 Cent, who you would think is the star, based on him being the closest to the camera and first billed on the cover.  Followed by G-Unit, you have Val Kilmer, then Vinnie Jones, and an image of McCord.  However, none of these people are the star of the film.  That title really belongs to Luke Goss (of Hellboy 2: The Golden Army and Death Race 2 fame), who is just about cropped out, in the farthest back positioning on the poster of his own movie.  I can understand the reasoning behind this; 50-Cent and Val Kilmer are “bigger” name draws, but I still find it hilarious.

If I must say anything about the movie, beyond the fact that it just is not good from most standpoints, I will admit to admiring some scenes.  While this may not be director Jason Hewitt’s breakout success film as a director, he shows off a few moments of flashiness that registered as cool.  Luke Goss, while a capable action-type guy, is essentially the poor man’s Jason Statham.  He has the rough and toughness, but lacks the charisma to be headlining films.  The less I say about the other actors in this movie the better, but it almost makes no difference, as these supposed top billed stars are each in the movie for a few minutes, at most.  I don’t want to write about which actor I think embarrasses himself the most, but let’s just say that Top Gun 2: Goose’s Revenge may be starting to sound pretty good to him if roles like this keep coming his way (however, he was really hilarious in McGruber).

I have barely touched upon what goes on in this film because you have seen it all before, done better many times over, and if you really have interest, I would just say do a blind rent.  However, this film is pretty lousy.  While the beginning is a little promising, despite still being derivative, it quickly descends and never quite picks itself back up.  This is a gritty, undercover cop story, but nothing about it makes it stand out.  Not even the subtleties of 50-Cent’s acting prowess.  As the film’s tagline suggests, “getting [the disc] in was easy,” but sitting through this film was a chore.

Video: 

Fortunately not everything was a total loss.  Despite having seen much better transfers in my day, the film is serviceable in the picture quality department.  The AVC encoded image (1.78:1 aspect ratio) has the film reflecting its sense of grittiness by not quite showing us much detail, instead having plenty of muddy contrast issues.  Given that the film is very dark for a lot of its running time, as well as purposefully made to have a subdued color palette, the lack of a stronger transfer ends up making this film seem uglier than probably intended.  Still, it is a give and take, as the film, in some ways, benefits from looking the way it does, given the tone of the feature.  Also, when the scenes do lighten up around some characters, such as the actresses, the disc suddenly seems cleaner and better represents the details around the facial textures and environments.  Decent at most.

Audio:

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is also sufficient.  The balance throughout this film was consistent enough, meaning I basically never had to grab my remote to adjust, based on whether the scenes had more action in them.  However, the audio levels never reached a more adequate moment to have me better appreciate the technical levels that the film attempted to achieve in how the action was presented.  It sounds clear, yes, but the track never feels as if it wants to take advantage of a blu-ray disc’s potential.  The film also has optional English and Spanish subtitles.

Extras:

I was not expecting much in the way of extras and low and behold, I did not get much.  The film apparently did not receive the deluxe treatment it was hoping for, but it does have two things going for it, and one of them rhymes with “sailor”:

Theatrical Trailer

Behind the Scenes with Cast and Crew Interviews:  This is just as it sounds; a 16-minute behind the scenes look at the film.  Nothing special here, just a standard feature that has the actors and crew laying out the plot and explaining surface details without providing anything deeper.

Final Thoughts: 

At least the blu-ray has a decent presentation.  I would have been really kicking myself if the film not only sucked, but I had to see it on VHS levels of quality.  Sure there is a decent presentation of the film on Blu-ray, so this was not a horrible experience, but there is not much else to compliment.  I could recommend any number of other gritty cop thrillers to watch in place of this film, but if this is really something you desire to see or you just want to have a good laugh at a film that both stars and was produced by Curtis “50-Cent” Jackson, then by all means go for it.

Get your copy of Blood Out here:

 


 

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Writer/Reviewer, Film Lover, Podcaster, Gamer, Comic Reader, Disc Golfer & a Lefty. There are too many films, TV, books, etc. for me to list as favorites, but I can assure that the amount film knowledge within my noggin is ridiculous, though I am always open to learning more. You can follow me on Twitter @AaronsPS4, see what else I am up to at TheCodeIsZeek.com & check out my podcast, Out Now with Aaron and Abe, on iTunes.

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