Directed by:Jason Hewitt
Starring: Luke Goss, Vinnie Jones, Val Kilmer, 50 Cent, Annalynne McCord, Tamer Hassan, Ed Quinn
Michael (Goss) is a cop in a small town, who’s younger brother David is murdered when he tries to escape the drug and gang life he’d been caught up in for so long. When the big city cops refuse to take an interest in the case, Michael goes undercover on his own. Making a name for himself on the tough streets, Michael comes to the attention of Elias, David’s old boss, and makes friends with Anthony, and Squat. Michael soon learns that Elias has big plans for uniting all the gangs, and even has an eye on taking over the whole of the US drug trade.
Luke Goss, one-time member of 80’s boy band BROS, has built up a decent film career over the past decade. His resume includes the vampire hybrid Namek in Blade 2, and the Elf Prince in Hellboy 2. Out of makeup and prosthetics he also starred in the After Dark movie,
, and recently starred in the DTV prequel to Death Race. Blood Out isn’t going to be the highlight of his resume, but it is quite a solid thriller for the most part and a good showcase for his acting skills.
The film suffers a little from stunt casting. There are three prominent names above Goss’s in the credits – Val Kilmer, Vinnie Jones and Curtis “50 Cent” Hanson – all of which are only in one or two scenes. All bring the goods, but perhaps a bit more honesty in the credits wouldn’t hurt expectations as much. As it is, Vinnie Jones brings the hard-man menace you’d expect, Val Kilmer delivers really bizarre monologues as if he’s Marlon Brando in Apocalypse Now, while Curtis Hanson delivers the best performance of the three in a really unexpected role.
Blood Out opens with a genre staple – the Big Bust Gone Wrong, as a raid on a meth lab ends with a little girl being killed in a shootout between Michael and one of the drug dealers. Unexpectedly, there is very little fallout, emotional or otherwise. The incident is seen as tragic collateral damage. The real story kicks in when David, Michael’s twitchy young brother appears. Apparently he’s in love and is looking to quit his gang life for good. Unfortunately Michael has heard this story a dozen times already and is a bit dubious to say the least, but gives his brother the benefit of the doubt one more time. Unfortunately, it’s the last time he sees him alive.
After an astonishing altercation with the gang-crime dept, and in particular a certain Detective Hardwick (Hanson), Michael decides to go undercover on his own to find David’s killers. First thing he does is go and get his upper torso covered in gang-related tattoos, in particular the sign of a now-defunct gang, to give himself a new identity. Then he goes out and allows himself to get jumped by a small-time gang and takes them out in a rather brutal fight scene.
His actions soon come to the attention of Elias (Hassan), who soon makes him his “general”. Michael mutual attraction in Anya, Elias’s main squeeze who indulges in some dominatrix activities for his pleasure. He also makes friends with Anthony (Quinn) and Squat, two guys who used to run with his brother and let slip what had happened. It also turns out that David’s fiancé, Gloria, is Anthony’s sister, is also pregnant and still hooked on meth.
Vinnie Jones plays Zed, Elias’ boss, who only comes into town for special occasions, such as killing gang members who want out of the life, and gambling on a gladiator-style battle for control of the whole American drug scene. He doesn’t get a lot to do but looks pretty menacing in every scene he’s in.
Val Kilmer plays Arturo, a rich playboy type who’s in control of the South American drug empire. His performance is really out of whack with everything else in the film, spouting stream-of-consciousness speeches. It’s all very weird. Ed Quinn, looking a lot like Christian Bale, also makes a good impression as Anthony, a hard-as-nails gang member who nevertheless stands up for his family and friends.
The film however belongs to Luke Goss, who delivers an assured performance as Michael, able to convey a whole load of emotions and puts on a convincing display during his fight scenes.
isn’t quite up to Death Race 2 standards but is an enjoyable action thriller with a great central performance from Luke Goss, who for my money is one of the best DTV actors out there. Here’s hoping he gets to work with Isaac Florentine or John Hyams in the future.
7 out of 10 (MikeOutWest)