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78 of 83 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Forty-three years older
For those of us Clint Eastwood fans who remember him as the young and headstrong Rowdy Yates in the TV series RAWHIDE (1959-1966), going to see the latest Eastwood Big Screen epic is a sobering reminder that time catches up to us all.
In BLOOD WORK, Clint plays Terry McCaleb, a high profile FBI agent who suffers a severe heart attack while chasing (on foot) a vicious...
Published on August 25, 2002 by Joseph Haschka

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Work
There is a masked hold-up artist/killer on the loose, and the police believe the cold-hearted criminal to be selecting the locations purposefully, and that his victims are just unlucky, random individuals. Retired FBI agent Terry McCaleb thinks that it is the *locations* which are random, and that the killer's victims are very, very specific. Will his wisdom prevail? That...
Published on August 13, 2002 by Matthew Gladney


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78 of 83 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Forty-three years older, August 25, 2002
For those of us Clint Eastwood fans who remember him as the young and headstrong Rowdy Yates in the TV series RAWHIDE (1959-1966), going to see the latest Eastwood Big Screen epic is a sobering reminder that time catches up to us all.
In BLOOD WORK, Clint plays Terry McCaleb, a high profile FBI agent who suffers a severe heart attack while chasing (on foot) a vicious serial killer who leaves taunting messages for McCaleb at the crime scene. Terry finds that climbing over fences just isn't as easy at is used to be, but then a Clint Eastwood character in the old days would've just stood back and shot the perp down at long range with his .44 Magnum. Oh, well. In any case, it's now two years later and Terry is just off a heart transplant and retired to his boat. Graciella (Wanda De Jesus) shows up to request that McCaleb get back in harness to investigate the death of her sister, who was murdered in a convenience store holdup. McCaleb at first demurs, but then has a change of heart, so to speak, when he learns that the dead woman was the donor of his new ticker.
The best part of BLOOD WORK, also directed and produced by Eastwood, is watching Clint depict the aging, debilitated and physically vulnerable McCabe, who can perhaps be viewed as a composite of all the other heroes played by Clint over the decades, only older. Eastwood, possibly mindful of his own mortality, is perhaps acknowledging time's inexorable march through Terry's persona. Beyond that, the film had its uneven moments. Paul Rodriguez plays Detective Arrango, a Latino LAPD cop so gratuitously buffoonish and unpleasant that I'm surprised the Brotherhood of Latino Law Enforcement Officers isn't suing. Anjelica Huston overacts her role as McCabe's cardiologist, Dr. Bonnie Fox, who's snappishly unsympathetic to Terry's desire to see justice done for the woman whose heart keeps him alive. Moreover, McCabe early on hypothesizes an unknown circumstantial link between Graciela's sister and another man murdered by (apparently) the same killer. Though Terry is proven right, of course, the evidence for this premature conclusion was decidedly unclear to this viewer at the time. Additionally, it was never explained how the killer got access to crucial blood type records, and this was a major loose end in my book since such data isn't in the public domain. On the other hand, Jeff Daniels does a swell job as Buddy, McCabe's neighbor in the next boat slip. Buddy, an affable but unemployed and self-professed loser, supplements monetary support from his father by acting as Terry's driver during the latter's investigations.
BLOOD WORK has a plot gimmick that eventually leads to a satisfying ending involving McCabe, Graciella and the Bad Guy. Despite its flaws, I liked this film a lot simply because Eastwood will always be my all-time favorite cinematic Tough Guy.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A more than solid Eastwood vehicle, August 20, 2002
We all know good 'ol Clint isn't getting any younger, and he knows that himself which is part of what makes Blood Work as good as it is. Eastwood plays an FBI agent drawn out of retirement to find a serial killer which Eastwood had a heart attack chasing. What develops is a game of cat & mouse between Eastwood and the killer, culminating in a stunning revelation and an ending similar to that of another Eastwood starring/directing effort; In the Line of Fire. Blood Work is a smart, intelligent thriller and a throwbacl to the days when movies didn't have to rely on anemic storylines and bloated special effects to get going. Sadly though, Blood Work will most likely go ignored by audiences while overblown, mindless action pics like XXX rake in the millions. Still though, you should really give Blood Work a try, it's a real gem.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gosh Darn it I Liked It, January 2, 2003
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I rented this film kind of expecting it to be junk. Why do I rent things expecting they are junk? 9/10ths of movie rental is the masochistic art of self-inflicted stinkers. But this movie surprised me. Possibly its because I watched it on four separate nights, a little bit at a time, and allowed each segment to settle into my subconscious. I felt I got to know the characters. The movie was slow and easy-going, even though a killer is on the loose and Clint is prone to play fast and loose with buckshot on what seems to be a Culver City street. His fetching black female cop friend gets out her own piece and shoots hell out of the suspected perp's vehicle even though she doesn't even know what's going on. All this and the movie has a subdued, contemplative feel. You gotta like this movie.
And then there's Buddy, the self-described Boat Bum who is Clint's next door neighbor down at the marina. I really fell for this character. So minor, so plausible as an ordinary, idle man who knows that he is a loser, preferring to sit life out on the sidelines with a sad little smile and a case of beer. This man is so human, so full of muted pathos. The movie is a strangely meditative cop drama where all these little characters loom larger than life because, without realizing it, our attention dwells on them so long. We think we're watching an action movie. We feel like we're watching an action movie. And yet, subliminally, we are fed a muted, fragile human-interest picture where almost all of the characters are somehow frail.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Work, August 13, 2002
By 
Matthew Gladney (Champaign-Urbana, IL USA) - See all my reviews
There is a masked hold-up artist/killer on the loose, and the police believe the cold-hearted criminal to be selecting the locations purposefully, and that his victims are just unlucky, random individuals. Retired FBI agent Terry McCaleb thinks that it is the *locations* which are random, and that the killer's victims are very, very specific. Will his wisdom prevail? That is one of the interesting plot elements in "Blood Work", the 20th movie starring Clint Eastwood that he has also directed.
Eastwood plays McCaleb, a gritty man with a gentle streak, who was forced into retirement after suffering a heart attack while chasing a serial killer on his last case. Two years later, McCaleb receives a new heart, and the serial killer is still at-large. Terry McCaleb is Eastwood playing his age. We know that this man used to possess solid physical strength, but age has diminished that strength, so now he is left to rely almost solely on his keen intellect. That intellect does not fail him, although it is sometimes slow to catch on.
McCaleb is enjoying retirement on his boat, when he is approached by the sister of the woman whose heart he now has. She explains to him that her sister was murdered (one of the victims of the aforementioned hold-up artist/killer), and she would like for McCaleb to crack the case and find the murderer. At first reluctant, the former FBI man soon acquiesces to the sister's request, and the game is afoot.
I found "Blood Work" enjoyable. Watching Eastwood so easily play the role of McCaleb is fun in and of itself, and the story is always involving. It isn't necessarily as realistic as it could have been, but that is part of its charm. McCaleb falls into that realm of the Hercule Poirot detective: a former law enforcement official who should, by no real rights, have access to such things as police discussions of the case, a crime scene, evidence books, and videotapes of murders - yet he does. That is fine. It leaves the story unhampered, and it can progress at a good pace.
The revelation of the killer in "Blood Work" I found to be a little weak, and somewhat over the top. I would not dare disclose any more here. But suffice it to say, it jarred me a little bit. Nevertheless, I found the movie a highly entertaining weekend diversion. Blood Work is good work.
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29 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slow-Moving, But Well-Made Thriller in Traditional Style, December 10, 2002
By 
Tsuyoshi (Kyoto, Japan) - See all my reviews
My three star rating may look unkind, but actually it is 3.5, so don't be mistaken. Clint Eastwood never played any other role than Eastwood (or Dirty Harry), that's true, but the point is, he does it cool, and does it with confidence. He knows what he is doing, even as a director, and "Blood Work" is another proof that he is one of the accomplished directors of America.
Eastwood is ex-FBI profiler Terry McCareb, now retired after one bloody case of murder. Recovered from severe heart attack which hit him during the invetigation, he gets an operation. Now a heart transplant recepient, Terry is advised to live quitely by his doctor Anjelica Huston. But an unexpected visitor comes to him, asking him to help her; her sister was murdered at a grocery shop, and she says she has a good reason to ask Terry to do what she needs.
Back in former business, Terry starts his own search for the killer, and the film displays some actions (including shootings) and activities of Terry with his sidekick Jeff Daniels ("Speed" and "Dumb and Dumber"), but it is Eastwood whom we would watch with certain amount of respect and feeling of "wow". In fact, even though he was born in 1930, he still is in good shape, with his tough and cool images all around. You may say this guy Terry is just an elder version of Harry, and you're right. But when Eastwood does it, he does it better than anyone, blending his machismo with some sort of resignation and sadness which only those veterans can exude.
Once I heard that Eastwood behind the carema never shouts or yells when shooting -- no "Action!" no "Cut!" -- but speaks it quietly (and in Italian too). Probably so. The pace of the film is always assured, showing that director Eastwood perfectly comprehends his subject. No flashy camera work is there; you see his assured touch of direction, which can be neither too fast nor too slow. Like his previous "Space Cowboys", "Blood Work" never runs, but is always moving.
You might find the script of Brian Helgeland ("LA Confidential" "Knight's Tale" and others) a little too transparent, but it keeps you interested even though some of you might detect the truth half on the way. But as I said, it is the film of Clint Eastwood who, as you know, loves jazz music. And like jazz, the film may look too slow and quiet for younger audiences as it goes with leisured pace. But that is his style, and without style there is no cool.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Farfetched plot, but still a good story. Fine acting too., January 10, 2004
I like Clint Eastwood. So naturally I enjoyed this 2002 film in which he stars as well as directs. He's over 70 years old now and, instead of making believe that this is not happening, he finds roles that try to show its reality. I applaud him for this. Blood Work is a good film.
Eastwood is cast as an FBI profiler nearing retirement who's being taunted by someone known as the "code killer". After a chase, he suffers a heart attack and the killer gets away. Fast forward two years. He's now the recipient of a heart transplant, and his cardiologist, played by Anjelica Houston, is telling him to take it easy. Ha! You and I know right there that he's going to be swept into some sort of new police work. Well -- it sure is wild. It seems the young woman whose heart he has received in the transplant was murdered. And her sister, played by Wanda De Jesus, is begging him find the killer. Naturally, he now has to use all his years of wisdom to investigate.
What follows is a fast paced police procedural drama to which he is personally connected. There are lots of clues and a few false leads and some startling twists and turns of the plot. Tina Lifford is cast as the cop who helps him. She has just the right amount of cop savvy and skepticism to make her very real. Paul Rodriguez is cast as the cop who's jealous of Eastwood's accomplishments. And there's even a ethnic angle thrown in as the murdered woman, her sister and Rodriguez are all of Mexican descent. The setting is Los Angeles and Eastwood lives on a houseboat in the Marina. His next-door-neighbor is Jeff Daniels, who becomes Eastwood's sidekick.
I enjoyed all the acting, the cinematography and the storyline. It didn't even matter to me that it was all a little too farfetched and that some of the details of the plot didn't make sense. I just relaxed and let myself enjoy another one of Eastwood's accomplishments. Recommended.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars solid Eastwood vehicle, August 12, 2002
By 
***1/2 For action movie stars, the question of how to age gracefully on screen has become a growing concern of late, now that many of the men who made their mark and their fortunes in the genre during the `70's, `80's and early `90's have begun to slip not merely into middle age but, in some cases, even old age as well. For understandable reasons, many of these brawny gentlemen have refused to go gently into that night of second-string bit player roles and has-been status - and their studios, which earned some mighty bucks off their popularity during that time, have been reluctant to let go of them as well. The action genre requires, of course, a nimbleness and vitality that come only with youth. How then to get men pushing 50, 60, even 70 years of age to compete with the up-and-coming action stars of the future, men with the energy and vigor to pull off the stunts these senior citizens can but dream about from their own long-past glory days? One way to deal with the problem is to simply ignore the effects of aging altogether, to have the actors go through the motions anyway, even at the risk of reducing the whole enterprise to the level of rank implausibility. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sylvester Stallone, in their latest action films, have settled for this strategy, the result of which is that their films haven't been either very successful at the box office or all that much fun to watch of late. The much older Clint Eastwood has decided to take the opposite tack. In the latter stages of his career, Eastwood has found ways to incorporate the elements of aging into the people he is portraying. These characters need time to recover from the stressful physical requirements of the job; their reflex time is not always what it should be; they work hard at staying alongside their younger crime-fighting partners when pursuing a suspect on foot; they get winded when they run. The sight of Eastwood panting to keep up with the President's motorcade in "In the Line of Fire" is one of the great emblematic images of `90's action cinema.
Well, it is nine years since that film, and Eastwood himself is now 72 years old. In his new film "Blood Work," Eastwood's Terry McCaleb is about as close to keeling over dead as any action movie protagonist we have ever come across. Not only is he old, he suffers a heart attack while chasing a serial killer in the opening scene and, two years later, has just received a brand new ticker, courtesy of a young female donor who was murdered in a convenience store robbery. Although McCaleb's doctor keeps telling him that this postoperative period is a crucial one requiring complete rest and relaxation, this retired FBI murder investigator decides to disobey doctor's orders when the heart donor's beautiful sister arrives on his houseboat begging him to help her find the young woman's killer. The plot of "Blood Work," based on the novel by Michael Connelly (and adapted by Brian Helgeland), is not the real selling point of the film - although it emerges as a better-than-average police procedural with some interesting plot twists, unusual locations and a nice maze-like structure to keep the audience guessing (although I must admit that I figured out who the killer was rather early on in the story). The film also does a nice job closing in on itself, making McCaleb himself an integral part of the story's final unraveling (though it does steal a bit from "In the Line of Fire" in this one area). Yet the most impressive aspect of the film is not its story but its central character and, most particularly, the performance of Eastwood himself. Perhaps because he also directed the picture, this legendary star really seems to inhabit the character he is playing here. With his craggy - but still remarkably handsome - face, Eastwood looks like a man who has weathered any number of life's greatest trials and emerged from them a better, more compassionate human being. Having devoted his career to trying to get into the minds of the sickest types of criminals imaginable (serial killers), he is still able to be touched by the desperate pleas of a grieving sister, the sad plight of a young boy facing the grim prospect of an early death brought on by a weak heart, and the innate goodness and innocence of a young son who has lost the dearest thing in his life to a madman's bullet. McCaleb knows the difference between good and evil, and he also knows that second chances don't always come around in life so he better make the most of the one he's been handed.
There are superb supporting performances by Jeff Daniels as the neighbor excited at the prospect of sharing in some of the glamour of McCaleb's investigative work, Anjelica Huston as the cardiologist maddened by her patient's refusal to take it easy in his crucial period of convalescence, Wanda De Jesus as the sister who sets the plot in motion with her request that McCaleb help her in her search for justice, Paul Rodriquez as the eternally irate detective who thinks McCaleb is overstepping his jurisdiction and Tina Lifford as a fellow investigator who has enough faith to trust the old pro even when he seems to be going beyond the bounds of totally by-the-book rules and procedures.
It's unfortunate that Eastwood does compromise a bit by having his character end up in a romantic relationship with the much younger De Jesus rather than with a woman closer to his own age. I guess even this superstar couldn't stand THAT much of an affront to his male ego. Oh well, give credit to the man for at least having the gumption to confront some of the realities of his own aging. We are happy enough with what we have. Let's not expect miracles.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Old-School Style Thriller., August 11, 2002
By 
Daniel V. Reilly (Upstate New York, United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
I guess Clint Eastwood is going to be one of the rare action icons that ages gracefully and with dignity.....Blood Work is another classy film from the legendary Actor/Director.
Eastwood plays an aging F.B.I. profiler on the trail of "The Code Killer"; He suffers a career-ending Heart attack while chasing the killer, and winds up needing a heart transplant. Two years into his retirement he is contacted by the sister of a recent murder victim looking for his help finding her killer. Why him? Well, his new heart belonged to her sister.
The movie is very tightly constructed, and to say much more would give away the surprises. I didn't have much of a problem following the clues, and I was able to deduce the identity of the killer and his connection to Eastwood, but the movie is so good that I really didn't mind. Eastwood has constructed a rock-solid thriller very reminiscent of his earlier work, and no matter how old he is, he still kicks butt!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another gritty cop thriller from Clint!, March 20, 2006
This suspenseful police drama suceeds on many different levels--as a gritty serial killer chase, a portrayal of transition to retirement for a high achieving senior, a re-discovery of love and life and a portrayal of obsession. Eastwood excels at choosing great stories. His direction and acting are also superb.

Enjoy another high quality cop thriller from Clint Eastwood!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Aging Gracefully, August 14, 2010
By 
Bobby Underwood (Tumut NSW, Australia) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Clint Eastwood embraced growing older and more fragile in this leisurely paced and thoughtful cop film. Eastwood himself has grown older and wiser, both as an actor, a producer, and a director. Even though I guessed fairly early on who the killer was and the film ran a little long, this film is about the journey. Paced much like Line of Fire, it also is about the character as much as the crimes, and that, coupled with the charisma of Eastwood, makes this a good film.

Clint Eastwood is legendary FBI profiler Terry McCaleb. He is tracking a serial killer known as "Code Killer" when this film opens. Leaving Terry messages written in blood at each crime scene, the prey is enjoying the chase. When McCaleb finally has him within reach during a foot pursuit, Terry suffers a heart attack so massive that only a heart transplant saves his life, forcing his retirement from the Bureau. Then the killings stop.

Taking the advice of his cardiologist, Bonnie (Angelica Huston), he takes life easy on his boat. Jeff Daniels is excellent as his next door pal, Buddy. Things are going smoothly in the immediate days after the transplant darkly beautiful Graciella shows up wanting the former FBI Agent to go look into the murder of her sister. Since it appears to be a random act of violence during a robbery, and Terry has severe doubts as to whether he is even up to such a task, he tries to decline. But empathy for Graciella and the son who no longer has a mother, coupled with his his attraction to her, make turning her down problematic. When he discovers the heart beating in his chest belonged to the murdered woman, honor and guilt set him on the trail once again. Buddy becomes his sidekick as he slowly gets up to speed. Terry knows he is not the same man anymore, but might be able to get part of himself back if he can survive the chase. Paul Rodriguez gives a very funny performance as exasperated L.A. Detective Arrango who thinks Terry should stay retired and out of his case.

But Terry still has connections, including the pretty Tina Lifford in a nice role. It is obvious she and Terry had more than a casual relationship in the past and she gives him more leeway than she probably should in his pursuit of justice for his donor's killer. Terry begins to have feelings for Graciella and though some critics at the time found Clint's performance in the brief love scene rather stoic, his reaction, or rather lack of one, at Graciella's advances in the scene are in keeping with his condition and the fear the now fragile McCaleb has due to his recent transplant and the health complications brought on by his investigation. As his old nemisis returns and Terry discovers the reason for all the killings it complicates matters no end, both investigation wise, and in his personal life, which have become intertwined.

Eastwood gives a thoughtful performance as an actor and adds some humor and good music as director to round out this entertaining film. His final exchange with Rodriguez after a somewhat lengthy chase and confrontation with the killer, end the film on a high note. Like Steve McQueen, Eastwood can elevate a good movie to seem a little better than it is, which is exactly what he does here. Not a fantastic film, but a very good one.
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Blood Work
Blood Work by Clint Eastwood (DVD - 2010)
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