It’s not often you can start a review by looking at the box art, but let’s do that, shall we? In the front, we have 50 Cent featured prominently, obviously an important cop or detective. To his left, we have Vinnie Jones, maybe playing some type of thug. On the opposite side is Val Kilmer, looking a little too much like Mickey Rourke, but sort of staring blankly. Next is AnnLynne McCord, and finally Luke Gross who is just sort of “there.”
The point? The box art is backwards, not in that annoying way where the actors names don’t match the orientation of the picture, but in terms of their roles. Rapper 50 Cent is given two simply awful scenes as a meaningless police detective, Vinnie Jones and Kilmer show up twice, McCord has a handful of scenes, the piece is dominated by Luke Gross.
You could even take Kilmer out of the piece with no ill effect. He’s possibly drunk or simply hamming it up with awkward pauses as a South American drug lord who hosts hilariously overdone underground fights. He can even spout a pit of fire just by slamming his cane onto the ground. Were that the worst offense of Blood Out, maybe its movie making sins could be forgiven.
It could be stated that Blood Out wasn’t even finished, the ending abrupt, edited so choppy, and the CG footage of a physics-defying flipping car repeated. We’re a long way from the ending though, because the set up is what matters, Gross playing a deputy with a gang bangin’ brother who is shot in cold blood. Gross takes it upon himself to go undercover under his own volition to seeks his revenge against the gang responsible, even snagging some instant-healing tattoos to fit in with the crowd.
Jason Hewitt is credited with this script and the direction, so surely the nauseating combination of shaky camera work, jump edits, split screens, focal tricks, and slow motion are entirely on his lap. It’s a movie at a complete loss for style or its own feel, so it dips into the grab bag of direct-to-video garbage to find some… and fails. By the end, you’ll be glad those miniscule credits pop up out of nowhere purely so you can relax and breathe as this miserable ride comes to a stop. Thankfully, the credits are stable as they vertically scroll, possibly the only competent part of the entire piece.
Blood Out is a dirty gift to all people with low karma from Lionsgate, this Blu-ray release delivering a digital production that shows some signs of life. If this movie had any sense of stability, it would have been easier to appreciate the fairly staggering level of facial definition on display, close-ups brilliantly defined at times. Light motion blur can make that impossible to really appreciate. Of course, that’s speaking in broad terms, something that never fits this clunker. There are scenes with ghastly smoothing, unbearable blooming, blown out colors, and whatever other effect Final Cut Pro offers.
Black levels never find their consistency either, from a blatantly washed out appearance during an alley brawl at 30:13 to their immeasurable deletion of shadow detail during that final battle between Gross and former WWE wrestler Bobby Lashley. They never find a natural groove, and that mirrors the contrast. Early on, characters pass an electrical station, the “warning” part of the sign in the background bleached out.
Hewitt never decides on a general color palette either, apparently believing each and every scene deserves a new one. Flesh tones go from bronzed to ghostly in a flick of the edit button, primaries burst or don’t exist, although to his credit, this mess never devolves into an orange and teal look. Some credit is due there.
About the only things that remain firm are the clarity of the digital source material and the cleanliness of the encode. Noise is never an issue even in those seedy interiors, kept dark to hide the cheapness of the sets. Fight scenes are complimented by the encode, kept far from any visible compression problems. Even through rooms clouded in smoke, this one maintains what little integrity it can offer.
No one will mistake Blood Out for a lavish, high class production, but is that really an excuse for this audio mix? There’s nothing positive to say about it, from the mind-numbing hip-hop soundtrack that never clicks with the subwoofer, gunfire that never squeezes itself into the surrounds, and the dialogue… oh dear god the dialogue.
There are two things always happening when people open their mouths. Either the person controlling the boom mic kept it far too close to the camera and we’re hearing the constant buzz of a fan or cars are causally passing through each scene with no attempt to blot them out. Not a single line of dialogue has been re-dubbed for clarity’s sake, making the subtitle track the most important part of this disc (not that anything of value is ever really said).
Balance is all over the place too, an opening shoot-out so completely out of focus with the dialogue and music it’s a small miracle this DTS-HD mix can present either element distinctly. Some lines are so muffled they might as well not even exist. The closest anything here comes to matching up with even the most basic of Blu-ray standards are a few punches which reverberate in the subwoofer, and to surprise no one, never with any level of consistency.
There’s one extra on the disc, a hilariously green-screened series of interviews intermingled with behind-the-scenes clips masquerading as some type of making-of. Oh, and some trailers too, but if you’ve see the movie, you don’t want to see any section of it again.