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MOVIE REVIEW - Blood Work (2002) starring Clint Eastwood

Al Holst, Owner of TV ACRESThis easy-going crime drama asks the question "What does a serial killer do when his favorite cop has a bad ticker and might not be able to pursue him anymore?"

Well, this serial killer selects ideal heart donors, shots them in the head at just the right spot and leaves their dying bodies to be found so that the victim's organs can be successfully harvested. And wouldn't you know that the cop and the murder victims have a rare blood type that makes them ideal matches for the heart transplant list.

The players in this Eastwood directed thriller include:

  • Clint Eastwood as Terry McCaleb, a retired FBI Profiler who is living on a boat and recovering from a heart transplant operation.

  • Jeff Daniel as Jasper "Buddy" Noone, McCaleb's amiable next-door neighbor at the local marina.

  • Wanda De Jesus as Graciella Rivers, the waitress sister of the woman who was killed by the serial killer. She hires McCaleb to find her sister's murderer and uses the fact that McCaleb has her sister's heart beating in his chest to guilt-trip him into helping her avenge her sister's death.

  • Anjelica Huston as Dr. Bonnie Fox, the cardiologist who monitors McCaleb's recovery and fumes when she finds out he is traipsing around Los Angeles trying to find a killer instead of taking care of his own health.

  • Tina Lifford as Jave Winston, a black police detective whom McCaleb helped get promoted up the ranks by giving her credit for busting an old case called "The Cemetery Murders Case." She gives McCaleb access to the police records needed to unravel the murders.

  • Paul Rodriguez as Detective Ronaldo Arrango, a hot-headed
    Mexican-American LAPD cop who is jealous of McCaleb and constantly protesting that McCaleb has no jurisdiction to investigate the murders. He also is shocked that McCaleb is the recipient of a Mexican-American woman's heart and tells McCaleb the heart don't make him Mexican. To which McCaleb replies "You come back here again and this Mexican is gonna kick your ass."

Blood Work is not a high intensity film like a Bruce Willis Die Hard movie, but is delivers just enough action to keep you interested in the outcome.

However, some viewers with a keen eye for clues and typical Hollywood plotlines may guess long before the movie ends whom the serial killer really is.

Sadly, the tedious way the film ends on an abandoned ship slated to be salvaged, was just too tiresome and drawn out. You know this is true when you start to wiggle in your seat, begin to yawn and find yourself watching everything else in the theater except the movie screen.

But, the film won't disappoint the true Clint Eastwood fan, In typical Eastwood style, there is a happy ending of sorts: Clint solves the case, shoots the bad guy, finds romance with Wanda De Jesus (who is one drop-dead gorgeous Mamacita) and takes Raymond (Mason Lucero), the dead woman's son on a fishing trip on his cabin cruiser. Made me wanna get in my car and drive to the beach with my fishing pole.

PS. For those looking for a good catchphrase to come out of the film like Dirty Harry's "Go ahead make my day," you'll be disappointed. The closest you get is a bland "I don't need you" when Clint stands over the deluded and wounded serial killer and debunks his notion that somehow McCaleb's life wouldn't be the same without him.

-- Jerome A. Holst (August 25, 2002)

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