BG Films // 2010 // 80 Minutes // Unrated
Reviewed by Judge Gordon Sullivan // February 9th, 2011
A lone hit man. A woman marked for death. They want their blood, but they can't stop their love.
Jean-Luc Godard famously remarked that "all you need for a movie is a gun and a girl." American independent film in the 1990s went a little astray, usually offering guys and guns. Directors like Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriquez, and Troy Duffy got their start with films that largely eschewed the ladies in favor of presenting determined men with guns. Blood and Love feels like a throwback to that era of filmmaking, where a determined director could get famous just by putting a gun in the hands of a taciturn man. Although the film gets points for trying, Blood and Love tells a well-worn story and brings only a modicum of visual style to its trite narrative.
Blood and Love tells the story of hit man Drake (Peter Burke) who is hired to kill Gail (Gabrielle Loneck). However, upon arrive at the hotel where he is to kill her, Drake finds himself falling in love. Once he decides he can't kill they're both marked to die.
This is easily one of the most predictable movies I've ever seen. Once I knew the basic plot (assassin falls for target), I could predict, beat for beat, where the story was going to go. Of course Drake sees his target in distress (because the guy she's in love with is also the guy who wants her dead), and of course he falls for her. Naturally he has to get closer to her, convince her that her boyfriend is no good. Once they're falling for each other she must discover his true identity, and the bad guy has to send another uber-assassin to stop Drake and kill the girl. Because the film has gone for a kind of downbeat, existential vibe, even the ending is predictable.
All this could be forgiven if Blood and Love brought something new to the table, but for the most part it really doesn't. The acting goes from wooden to worse, with the über-assassin played by a large gentleman whose voice is touched with reverb on every single hammy line he delivers. The best performance is probably from Gabrielle Loneck, who really only has to look vulnerable for most of the film. It's probably not their fault, though, as the dialogue forces the actors to recite the most recycled-sounding lines in an effort to show how "cool" these hitmen are.
It's not all bad. I give credit to anyone who actually goes through the horrendous process of making a film, and I don't want to be too harsh on Blood and Love. There's some potential buried in the mix of trite action stereotypes. Surprisingly, there's a little more visual flair than I expected, including a few interesting camera moves and angle choices. The music is also uniformly excellent. It's a generally electronic track that sometimes slips into ambient textures before dropping into more propulsive beat-driven moments. It's a shame that the visuals aren't wedded more tightly to the music, because the beat created by the soundtrack would make the editing of this film much tighter.
The DVD itself is as ho-hum as the feature. The 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer is fine for what it is, and generally bright and clear (which works against the darker mood the film appears to be aiming for). It appears to have been shot on video, so detail is okay, and I didn't notice any glaring artefacting problems. The stereo sound does a fine job keeping the dialogue audible and well-balanced with the soundtrack. There are no extras on the disc.
I'm not sure why, but I feel bad hating on Blood and Love. Despite the frankly amateurish style, it rolls along almost blissfully unaware that other action flicks have done this shtick before with much more style and flair. I guess I'm feeling so lenient towards Blood and Love because despite the tired nature of the material, it doesn't feel like it's trying to copy those other, better films. That's gotta be worth something. However, that something is not a recommendation, since I can't in good conscience recommend this disc to anyone except aspiring filmmakers who might learn something from the film's mistakes. Everyone else should stay far away.
Blood and Love is guilty of retreading old ground.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: BG Films
* 1.78:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 80 Minutes
Release Year: 2010
MPAA Rating: Unrated