Fox // 2004 // 92 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // July 31st, 2004
Crime always pays.
New Blood:Type A or Type Suck?
Police stumble upon a series of odd crime scenes. One: eight bodies litter the ground, the story behind their deaths a mystery. Two: a man is found shot, alongside a tape of him confessing his identity before he's plugged. The only thing is, he's not the person he says he is on the tape. Befuddled yet? Wait it gets better.
The events of the previous night, culminating in the just seen after-effects of violence, are told in a double flashback. The wounded man, Alan White (John Hurt) recounts to investigators how he met his son, Danny (Nick Moran), also shot, who turned up out of nowhere to ask a favor. Why did he need the favor?
Well, Danny launches into another flashback to tell this story. As a member of a small-time "crew," Danny makes his way in the world with a bit of crime here and there. But when he learns of an opportunity to score big and become a player with Mr. Ryan, the local kingpin, he brings his cronies into the mix. One of them is Valentine (Shawn Wayans, Scary Movie), his best friend.
The crew is charged to meet up with notorious wacko Hellman (a wild-haired Joe Pantoliano, The Matrix) and a liaison for Mr. Ryan (Carrie-Anne Moss, also The Matrix) where the crime is to kidnap a bigwig and extort money.
When the mark is accidentally slain, the plan goes haywire. Enter Alan White, as a stand-in to fool Mr. Ryan, who agrees to the plan after his son pledges his heart as a transplant for his sister. With lots of money at stake and a fistful of itchy trigger fingers, it isn't long before people start shooting, blood starts flowing, and double-crosses ensue.
This under-the-radar film sports a decent array of recognizable faces and a heavy-on-the-noir atmosphere. The movie is very dialogue-heavy, saving its marginal action for the final third of the movie.
No big deal. This isn't an action movie. It's a crime drama, which is character-driven, and tells its story in a fairly convoluted fashion. The multiple flashbacks can really confuse the hapless viewer who's not concentrating. This can, of course, lead to exponentially increased confusion as the movie plows forward.
Stick with it, and you may not be too disappointed with New Blood. The acting is solid (though there are some significant lapses in character), the pacing is good (at 92 minutes, the affair is far from drawn out), and the ending is excellent.
Joey Pants is gleefully malicious as Hellman, Moss Leigh is a sexy spitfire, and Moran's Danny proves a solid anti-hero. Shawn Wayans' character of Valentine is wildly inconsistent, though. At one point, he nearly wets himself in fear over working with Hellman. But when the two are together, Valentine is abrasive and combative.
The movie looks good. With a widescreen transfer that boosts the dark feel of the film, Fox has put out a visually appealing disc. At some points the action gets a bit hazy and indiscernible, but this is relegated mainly to the dark, dark sequences. A disappointing stereo mix accompanies.
I hope you like trailers, because that's all you're going to get for bonus features.
Not quite thrilling, but not quite bad either. New Blood may be worth a look to those seeking a decent little slice of noir.
Not guilty. Oh, and thank The Matrix on your way out for increased actor recognition.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)
Running Time: 92 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Rated R
* Theatrical Trailer