The Direct to Video Connoisseur

I'm a huge fan of action, horror, sci-fi, and comedy, especially of the Direct to Video variety. In this blog I review some of my favorites and not so favorites, and encourage people to comment and add to the discussion. If you click on an image, it will take you to that post's image page, which includes many more pics from the film and other goodies I couldn't fit in the actual review. For announcements and updates, don't forget to Follow us on Twitter and Like our Facebook page. If you're the director, producer, distributor, etc. of a low-budget feature length film and you'd like to send me a copy to review, you can contact me at dtvconnoisseur[at]yahoo.com. I'd love to check out what you got.

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Blood and Bone (2009)

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My plan was to cover this movie when it was first released on September 15th, but I was away the week before, so the movies I needed to send back to get Blood and Bone when it first came out were still at my home, unwatched. Then, I had to push it back another week, because of our Swayze tribute. So here we are now, better late than never, right?

Blood and Bone has Michael Jai White as a mysterious dude in prison with amazing fighting skills. He gets out, and hooks up with an underground fight promoter, and he has only one goal in mind, beating pimp and crime boss Eamonn Walker's main man Bob Sapp. Eventually we find out he's on a revenge mission for a friend he met in prison, and though the film plays out as a sort of reimagined Lionheart, it differs enough to be entertaining in its own right.

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I really dug this. Michael Jai White was off the chain. The action was great. The fight scenes were awesome. There were some crazy off-beat scenes too, which in some cases ended pretty brutally, in an almost Tarentino-esque fashion. One of them had Walker and his crew going to a man's house, at the request of Julian Sands, to kill him. They sit at the guy's supper table with his wife, and she turns on "Dance Hall Days" by Wang Chung. First the guy scolds his woman for her poor choice in music, but Walker asks "what, you think the brothers don't know Wang Chung?", and he sings along with them, then kills the guys with a sword hidden in his cane. I loved it.

One aspect of this film angered me though. Michael Jai White was so good, it made it all the more appalling that Treach was cast in Art of War III. Why would you cram a guy who isn't an action star and who doesn't speak Standard American English fluently into that role, when you have a Michael Jai White, who is fluent, and who has superb martial arts skill. It just blows my mind. The only other Michael Jai White film I've covered is Silver Hawk, which I did a long time ago. That needs to change. And it's not like I didn't know this guy was amazing before Blood and Bone, but now I'm fully on board. Let's just say, I can't wait for Black Dynamite to come out.

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Eamonn Walker was perfect as the bad guy. If you can't get Clifton Powell, you certainly aren't settling with Walker. He has that ability, like Powell, to stare at someone in a way that isn't overtly menacing, yet strikes fear into one's heart just the same. Going back to Tarentino, Samuel L. Jackson managed that same effect in Pulp Fiction in the scene with Travolta where they're taking back their boss' property. If you look at Walker's resume, it runs the spectrum, from TV drama to feature film, and he's actually classically trained in London, where he grew up. It's always great to have someone of that pedigree in a DTV movie.

Speaking of that pedigree, Julian Sands has a small part as a bigger baddie to Walker. He kind of uses Walker's character to take care of problem people in his life. He was an excellent addition to the cast. I was looking through his recent work, and other than Cat City, which hasn't been released yet, his last movie was a Stargate DTV film. Is that a reoccurring character for him? I've never really watched Stargate. I have some friends that did, and I know it has MacGyver and the guy from House Party 2 with the amazing line "If you ain't givin' up the rhythm, you got to go."; but beyond that, it's all kind of a mystery. Maybe I'll check it out.

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As I said in my last post, I'm a huge MMA fan. This movie has one of MMA's more controversial stars, Kimbo Slice. I won't lie, I was one of the people that felt like his rise was dubious, and it annoyed me that people talked about him who didn't know anything about the sport. It was like people saying an And-1 street baller would burn it up in the NBA. Seeing him on the Ultimate Fighter TV show, though, I've realized that he just went with all the hooplah, and he's actually a very down-to-Earth guy that just wants a shot to learn and be the best the best way he can. From what I can tell of the show so far, he's winning over Dana White as well. Anyway, I bring him up because he's in this movie as well, playing a prison thug. He was pretty good. He's no Rampage as far as mixed-martial artists acting goes, but he's better than a lot of other ones.

If you like martial arts and fighting, you can do a lot worse than Blood and Bone. Put it on your queue, or pick it up if you see it at the video store. It's worth the new release money you'll have to pay for it right now. Michael Jai White is sweet, Eamonn Walker is a perfect baddie, and the action is great. One of the better DTV films I've seen in a long time.

For more info: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0346631/

4 comments:

  1. I personally felt let down by this after 'Undisputed 2'. I liked the whole 'Pale Rider' thing they were going for, and the choreography wasn't bad- sort of like a cross between 'Ong Bak' and 'Undisputed 2.' Michael Jai White has always been phenomenal, indeed.

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  2. I think it's always important to look at where a person comes from when seeing a movie. I had just seen the atrocious Hector Echavarria film Never Surrender, while you had Undisputed 2 on your mind. Maybe it's something I should consider more when I review films.

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  3. Just watched this movie. Michael Jai White is fantastic! Julian Sands has a few good moments as 'rich white guy'. Extremely good fun. Bluray coming out here in Aus next month and I'll definitely be picking it up.

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  4. I'm glad you dug it, definitely worthy of my top ten. You know I haven't had much experience with Blu-Ray, which is probably something I should work on. The only film I've seen on Blu-Ray is Mongol, which I watched at a buddy's place, and of course five minutes in he gave the classic "Is this movie all in subtitles?"

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