For the first time on Blu-ray and just in time for Father’s Day (or, well, close enough), Warner Home Video is re-releasing “U.S. Marshal”, “Blood Work”, and “A Perfect World” on Blu-ray for the first time on June 5th, 2012.
FBI profiler Terry McCaleb almost always gets to the heart of a case. This time, that heart beats inside him. He’s a cardiac patient who received a murder victim’s heart. And the donor’s sister asks him to make good on his second chance by finding the killer. That’s just the first of many twists in a smart, gritty suspense thriller that’s “vintage Eastwood: swift, surprising and very, very exciting” (Jim Svejda, KNX/CBS Radio). Clint Eastwood produces, directs and stars in this edgy, acclaimed mystery based on Michael Connelly’s novel and scripted by Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential). With a superb cast brought to a hard boil playing characters to quicken your pulse and hold you spellbound, Blood Work works exceptionally well.
2002’s “Blood Work” is classic Eastwood. A nice little crime thriller that doesn’t really wow you, but is certainly better than your average crime thrillers. Eastwood, as he is wont to do, stars and directs as a former FBI agent recently recovering from heart surgery, who finds himself once again on the trail of an elusive serial killer at the request of one of the killer’s victims. The film features nice supporting work from Jeff Daniels as Eastwood’s marina buddy (and chauffeur), Tina Lifford as a former colleague, Paul Rodriguez as an amusingly asshole cop, and Dylan Walsh as his goofball partner. Wanda De Jesus is fetching as Eastwood’s love interest. “Blood Work” movies at its own pace, so anyone looking for a rush of adrenaline is barking up the wrong tree. But if you have a lazy Sunday afternoon that you need filled, “Blood Work” is a pretty bloody good time to waste 2 hours.
The visuals are the Blu-ray are excellent, with crisp and clear sound. The specs, like the film and Blu-ray offering, is nothing fancy, but sufficient. It comes with two behind-the-scenes features — an 18-minute doc called “Making Blood Work”, featuring interviews with the cast and crew, and a 14-minute “A Conversation in Spanish”, which as the title implies, is an interview featurette with Eastwood and the cast’s Spanish actors, Wanda De Jesus and Paul Rodriguez. The second doc is half in Spanish (with English subtitles). Closing things out are two original trailers for “Blood Work”.
Ladies and gentlemen, be alert. We are going to initiate a hard-target search for a fugitive in an ever-widening perimeter. We will wade through swamps, prowl Manhattan streets, search every house and doghouse. We’ll eat on the run, sleep tomorrow, watch our backs. And since Marshal Sam Gerard leads the hunt, we will experience suspense, action and daring twists every breathless step of the way. Returning to his Oscar-winning role from The Fugitive, Tommy Lee Jones is Gerard, joining an A-team including Wesley Snipes, Robert Downey Jr. and director Stuart Baird. (Executive Decision) to deliver adrenaline-rush excitement. The suspect: armed, extremely dangerous, perhaps linked to a spy ring. The chase: highlighted by an out-of-control 727, a death match in a ship’s cargo hold, a 12-story plunge onto a moving train and more heart-pounding sequences. The movie: U.S. Marshals.
A sequel to 1993’s big-screen adaptation of “The Fugitive”, “U.S. Marshals” finds Tommy Lee Jones reprising his scene-stealing role of U.S. Marshal Sam Gerard, this time searching every outhouse, doghouse, and whorehouse for escaped con Mark Sheridan (Wesley Snipes), a tow truck driver with a very complicated life. The more Gerard digs into Sheridan’s past, the more he realizes that there are more going on than meets the eye. A ridiculously young looking Robert Downey Jr. co-stars as a slick Government agent assigned to shadow Gerard, with Snipes providing a much more lethal fugitive than Harrison Ford. In a lot of ways, swapping Ford with Snipes was a brilliant move — Snipes is the dangerous killer that Ford’s Dr. Richard Kimble was accused of being. Ironic, that. As a result, “U.S. Marshals” is more action-oriented than its predecessor. Still, it’s Lee Jones as Gerard who holds this thing together, delivering another excellent turn despite the added pressure of having been bumped to movie lead the second time ’round. I’m really surprised the franchise didn’t continue on after “U.S. Marshals”.
The Blu-ray’s visuals are clear and bright, with good colors and sound. It comes with a couple of behind-the-scenes featurettes, including a 12-minute “Anatomy of the Plane Crash”, which explores the film’s spectacular Act One plane crash from pretty much every conceivable angle; and “Justice Under the Star”, an 18-minute doc about the real-life U.S. Marshal service through the years. Apparently it’s not all about wearing boots and cowboy hats and beating bad guys with kung-fu. Go figure. A full-length audio commentary track by director Stuart Baird and original trailer wraps things up.
Academy Award winners Kevin Costner and Clint Eastwood confront each other from opposite sides of the law in A Perfect World, an acclaimed, multilayered manhunt saga (directed by Eastwood) that rumbles down Texas backroads toward a harrowing collision with fate. Costner plays Butch Haynes, a hardened prison escapee on the lam with a young hostage (T.J. Lowther in a remarkable film debut) who sees in Butch the father figure he never had. Eastwood is wily Texas Ranger Red Garnett, leading deputies and a criminologist (Laura Dern) on a statewide pursuit. Red knows every road and pothole in the Panhandle. What’s more, he knows the elusive Haynes — because their paths have crossed before.
Like “Blood Work”, 1993’s “A Perfect World” is classic Eastwood. A deliberately paced drama with good performances in front of and behind the camera, it is the small-scale story about a bad guy (Costner) who isn’t really all that bad, and the Texas Ranger chasing him (Eastwood, who also directs). “A Perfect World” is an unassuming but very involving road movie of sorts, set in early 1960s Texas, a time when you could get away with a languidly paced chase movie. After all, it’s not like everyone has a cellphone that they could snap a picture or call 9-1-1. Costner gives one of his best performance onscreen as Haynes, the con on the run, with Eastwood’s experienced lawman offering up a nice counter balance. Laura Dern as a scrappy criminologist (a woman in the ’60s, no less, and the second smartest person involved in the chase — Haynes being the other) and T.J. Lowther as the young boy who Costner befriends/takes hostage are excellent. “A Perfect World” features an early screenplay by John Lee Hancock, who would go on to direct “The Rookie”, “The Blind Side”, and my personal favorite, “The Alamo”.
If you’re buying “A Perfect World” for anything other than the Blu-ray transfer, then you’re out of luck. There are no special features to speak of, unless you count an original theatrical trailer as special. Fortunately the Blu-ray is excellent, with crisp, clear visuals and good sound. On the plus side, you also get a very good, albeit very underappreciated movie.