Columbia TriStar Home Video presents
Blood Crime (2002)
Daniel Pruitt: Do you have any leads?
Sheriff McKenna: I have ideas.- Johnathon Schaech, James Caan
Stars: James Caan, Jonathon Schaech
Other Stars: Elizabeth Lackey, David Field, Sydney Jackson, Paul Glover
Director: William A. Graham
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (violence)
Run Time: 01h:27m:58s
Release Date: 2003-01-28
DVD ReviewDirector William A. Graham is a veritable television workhorse. He has helmed a ton of work custom-made for the boob tube over the past forty years, including episodes of The Fugitive, Batman, Get Christie Love!, and even The X-Files, along with a boatload of based-on-real-life-situation teleflicks (The Amazing Howard Hughes, One in a Million: The Ron LeFlore Story and Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones). The point being, the guy has chiseled out a long-running career centered primarily on cranking out a lengthy list of work for the small screen. I imagine, though, that it becomes rather easy to fall into the generally constraining dramatic traps and limitations (whether intentionally or just by habit) of being strictly a tv-centric director, and with Blood Crime that is particularly evident.
What we have here is a simple 90-minute revenge/crime drama that plays out like a prolonged episode of some anonymous, forgettable cop show, here set in the small country town of Helensville, which just happens to be where big-city homicide detective Daniel Pruitt (Johnathon Schaech) and his wife Jessica (Elizabeth Lackey, who might have a future playing Katie Holmes slightly older sister) have decided to take a little vacation. The town is populated with a ridiculously large amount of stock criminal types, the kind that hang out at the local pool hall and make leering eyes at not only Jessica, but at the Pruitt's 1967 red Mustang. When Jessica is attacked in the woods late one night, it's up to Daniel to find out who did it, and he crosses investigative paths with the hard-nosed local sheriff, Morgan McKenna (James Caan). Then things get fairly ugly when a dead body turns up, and Sheriff McKenna believes that Daniel is the one that has committed the crime.
Even with his pedigree, Graham directs this one like any number of other predictable TV cop projects, with no real sense of identifiable style, and instead opts for a page out of the simple follow-the-breadcrumbs crimesolving playbook. There are a couple of moments that play against convention, but most of the plot development goes just where you expect it would. Most of the acting in this Australian-made film, which includes a lot of Aussies trying to deliver American accents, is kind of leaden and tired, though the best thing I can really say about Blood Crime is that James Caan is in it. He gives the role of Sheriff McKenna a dash of seething anger and a required pinch of Columbo-like intuitiveness, even if he is not always 100% right.
There aren't really any surprises in Blood Crime, and since we know that Daniel didn't kill anyone (he is the five-o'clock-shadowed hero, after all) it just becomes a matter of time before we learn the identity of the real killer. To compound my general annoyance with the story, it is full of those dumb moments when a given character can just look out a window and learn a valuable clue, or simply sneak into a hospital unnoticed to retrieve an easy-to-find key bit of evidence. The writing is uninspired, to say the least, and is typical of the mass-produced made-for-television genre (complete with fade-to-black for commercials) that all of the one-dimensional characters and bravado dialogue seem like something that we have seen and heard before. Only it wasn't that interesting then, either.
Rating for Style: C
Rating for Substance: D
|Aspect Ratio||1.33:1 - Full Frame|
|Original Aspect Ratio||no|
Image Transfer Review: A semi-respectable looking 1.33:1 full-frame transfer is the only option, and while it looks just fine during daylight scenes, night shots look way too dark; the film opens with a stakeout-gone-awry sequence, and I could barely tell what was going on. Image detail is fair, and colors look decent enough, otherwise, with fleshtones holding their own, too. No noticeable blemishes, grain or print flaws were apparent.
Image Transfer Grade: B-
Audio Transfer Review: Blood Crime has been issued with a basic 2.0 English stereo track that isn't overdone, and presents the material cleanly, clearly and more importantly, without hiss. There was never a problem understanding dialogue, and the lack of any surround activity didn't diminish (nor would it likely have enhanced) this dull revenge drama.
Audio Transfer Grade: B-
Disc ExtrasStatic menu
Scene Access with 28 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Thai with remote access
3 Other Trailer(s) featuring Charlie's Angels, Spider-Man, Enough
Extras Review: This is TV fodder, so the absence of extras is understandable and appreciated. Outside of a trio of trailers, all that's here is 28 chapters and a batch of optional subtitles (English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, Thai).
Extras Grade: D
Final CommentsIt's generally always good to see James Caan in action, but even his presence isn't enough to save this tired and plodding made-for-television flick. Admittedly, he is fun to watch as a smalltown sheriff working to solve a murder, but the stock characters and cornball dialogue do not leave much room for any actual entertainment to be had. That is, of course, unless you like made-for-television movies, but if you did you could try and catch this one on the USA network to at least save yourself a rental fee. Because paying for this one would be the real crime.
Rich Rosell 2003-02-02