Sony // 2009 // 93 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // September 15th, 2009
Destroy your enemy.
What do you get when you cross a bad-ass ex-con named Bone with fighting and shooting? This movie!
Michael Jai White (Spawn) is Bone. He's very good at the punching and kicking, making a name for himself as a ballbuster in the pen. When he finally gets out, he opts to put those skills to work for him in the world of underground fighting. After blowing through the competition with relative ease, he sets his sights on larger prey: a local ganglord and his syndicate of thugs who are wrapped up in Bone's personal life and start @#$%-ing with people he cares about.
Too bad for them, because this guy knows how to wreck fools.
Sometimes all you crave in life is a simple film with a slight plot, gobs of action, and an invincible protagonist. Michael Jai White is that protagonist and Blood and Bone is that movie.
I'm familiar with the guy's skills and, though he may have missed his shot at stardom when Spawn cratered, Michael Jai White is still a force to be reckoned with. I recall seeing him playing the heavy in a few other films (whatever that lame DMX action movie was), but as an unstoppable action hero, the guy really excels. Blood and Bone is far from high art, but having watched and enjoyed it, I genuinely hope White gets more onscreen love. And if it's of the direct-to-DVD ilk like this, so be it; the man is a physical marvel.
Action is the centerpiece and it's definitely worth the rental price. The bulk of the fighting is based in the underground arena and because Bone is such a monster -- known for his lightning-quick instant knock-out attacks -- some of the bouts don't last terribly long. But as Bone progresses up the ladder, his competition grows stronger and the encounters last longer. Bone still doesn't get touched, but at least there's more time to watch Michael Jai White rocking it. The final third of the flick stands out, as White takes on the entire crime syndicate and eventually some dude called "the greatest fighter in the world." These are the high points and that last fight is an impressive piece of action choreography.
Thankfully, the dramatic elements are not forced. Basically Bone has to keep a promise he made to his cell buddy. That's it. I'm not entirely sure how that led him to beating the halibut out of guys in an underground fighting ring, but I'm thankful for the script's shifty progression.
Not much else to say. If you want a quick and dirty little action movie that pours on the beatings, you could do a lot worse than Blood and Bone. You could also do a lot worse than the DVD, an effective offering that opens with a solid 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen and Dolby 5.1 Surround mix and closes with a pair of okay extras: cast and crew commentary, and a making-of featurette.
Lots of awesome punching and kicking and no messy, complicated to plot to get in the way. Excellent.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (French)
Running Time: 93 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Rated R