Blood Work

Posted on December 13, 2002 at 5:18 am

D
Lowest Recommended Age: Middle School
Profanity: Fairly strong language
Alcohol/ Drugs: None
Violence/ Scariness: Several shootings, a heart attack
Diversity Issues: Fairly diverse cast, including strong black and Hispanic main characters
Date Released to Theaters: 2002

The presence of a Hollywood icon as an actor and director cannot overcome the predictability in the script in “Blood Work.”

Clint Eastwood stars as Terry McCaleb, a veteran FBI profiler similar to Eastwood himself in having an enviable record and struggling to stay in the game for longer that his body wills him. However, while on the verge of capturing a taunting murderer, McCaleb suffers a heart attack and is forced into retirement. Two years later he is slowly recovering from a heart transplant when he is visited by the sister of the woman whose heart now beats in McCaleb’s body. Her sister’s murderer is still on the loose, and she wants McCaleb on the case. He reluctantly agrees and is soon finding clues and getting in danger just as he used to, sometimes being driven along by his lazy fishing neighbor (Jeff Daniels) who mostly plays Watson to McCaleb’s Holmes. And of course, McCaleb has to disobey doctor’s warnings and dodge the bumbling fellow officers to carry out his case, also becoming close to the woman (Wanda DeJesus) and her nephew (Mason Lucero).

The trouble with “Blood Work” is that the believable parts are unsurprising and the surprising parts are unbelievable. Eastwood’s presence hasn’t diminished one bit over the years and his storytelling skills still shine, and Daniels also does a very good job, but the movie is simply never too interesting to anyone who’s seen this kind of film before, especially after they’ve been done so well in Manhunter and The Silence of the Lambs. The film’s climax is probably the most interesting part, but it’s hard to believe that the McCaleb who was so perceptive in the film’s first half wouldn’t have figured out the killer and his/her motive much sooner, which seemed obvious to much of the audience.

Parents should know that this film has some strong language as well as some graphic images (mostly on videotape) of people getting shot. There is also some offscreen sex, and the happening and recovery of the heart attack are well documented.

Families who see this film should ask whether McCaleb felt the need to catch the killer because the murdered woman’s heart saved his life or because he cared about the woman and her nephew.

People who enjoy this movie should check out the Thomas Harris adaptations, as well as Eastwood’s best, Unforgiven and Dirty Harry.

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