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Blu-ray Review: Bloodstone (1988)

The Bloodstone, giant-ass ruby of antiquity, has been pinched by small potatoes thief Paul Lorre (Jack Kehler) at the behest of Ludwig Van Hoeven (Christopher Neame, Johnny Alucard from one of my all time fav fright flicks; Dracula A.D. 1972) down India way.

Enter: corny-as-fuck American newlyweds Sandy and Stephanie McVey (Brett Stimely… who has played President Kennedy in like four million films, and Anna Nicholas… who was on an episode of Mr. Belvedere once). While these two ham it up to the Nth degree, Lorre secretly slips them the ruby to avoid being arrested by the Indian authorities headed by Inspector Ramesh (Charlie Brill… more on this guy in a bit)… a man so bumbling and full of pratfalls it’s near impossible to imagine him being able to walk and chew gum successfully, let alone actually perform his job… but anyway…

These two don’t keep the stone for long, as one wild-as-fuck taxi ride later, courtesy of Shyam Sabu (Indian action star Rajinikanth), the ruby has fallen from Stephanie’s bag into Shyam’s taxi. Of course our antagonists have no idea, and soon kidnap Steph to get their rock back.

It’s up to Sandy and Shyam to get her back and avoid being killed… and given they are two of the more competent characters in the film there’s a good chance they’ll succeed unless like Ramesh accidentally shoots them or some shit…

Working from a script from Nico Mastorakis, director Dwight H. Little (Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers) deliver a great lil’ action comedy, full of glorious nonsense and broad slapstick that manages to be consistently entertaining, if not a bit tone deaf here and there.

In the positive column we have some great performances from Rajinikanth as the charming, devil-may-care taxi driver who steals the show countless times and should have been the picture’s hero, and Neame who plays the sophisticated villain bit to the scenery-chewing hilt.

Counteracting that we have Stimely who is serviceable as our hero… not great, not horrible (and not helped by his dubbed dialog courtesy of Starsky and Hutch and Salem’s Lot‘s David Soul), and Brill, who undoubtedly is a comic goldmine, but his fake Indian accent (the dude is from New York City, and isn’t Indian) is on a level that Fisher Stevens would be like “Fuck dude, take it down a notch”.

Adding to the plus column are some truly hilarious moments (intentional no less),  and the filming location of Tamil Nadu offers plenty of color and beautiful vistas.

While we are talkin’ positives, let’s talk about bonus material on this Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment Blu-ray release!

First up we get a duo of audio commentaries; one with Little that covers the nuts and bolts of the film’s production (including a horrifying tale of how the tigers were treated on set) and his long career, and the other featuring author Bryan Reesman in a trivia packed chat that runs at a breathless pace!

Also included are a new self-shot interview with Mastorakis (where he talks about how authentic Brill’s accent was… okay, dude whatever you say), an examination of Rajinikanth by Indian cinema expert Josh Hurtado, the film’s original theatrical and re-release trailers, and an image gallery.

If you can get past the cringe o’ Krill, Bloodstone is a fun and funny light action romp that is a great way to pass a rainy afternoon, especially if you dig on pics like Romancing the Stone, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.

 

 

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