"Blood for Blood" (aka "Midnight Man") should have been a moderately good action outing, considering its good cast, sound production values, and general feeling of wanting to succeed. However, at some point, it ceases to be a Lorenzo Lamas martial arts vehicle and tries to be mafia thriller, pseudo-fantasy outing, and Highlander rip-off - all at the same time. While a combo like that sounds moderately interesting, it was too lofty a feature for the filmmakers to aspire to, here, leaving this movie barely distinguishable from (or more worth watching than) any other Lamas flick from this period.
The story: when a bust on a Cambodian crime ring goes wrong, it unlocks a strange consciousness in police officer John Kang (Lamas, Renegade). He will need to channel his new power to defeat the crime wave, which has retaliated against the police department by sending its deadliest warrior (James Lew, Balance of Power) to wipe out the officers involved.
First and foremost, Lorenzo Lamas in no way passes as a Cambodian like the film would have you believe - even a second generation Cambodian. He does, however, do a decent job of acting his two-dimensional role and he's complimented by the respectable supporting performances of Eric Pierpont (Alien Nation) as his department buddy and Golden Globe winner James Shigeta (Flower Drum Song) as an aging mob boss. The inimitable Mako (Conan the Barbarian) gets top billing but, disappointingly, only has two scenes in the entire movie. Production values are pretty good, but then again, the movie doesn't do anything or take you anywhere out of the ordinary - a shame, considering its weirdo storyline could've offered up some interesting events or locales.
Fight choreographer John Salvitti (who collaborated with Donnie Yen on the action content of Hero) gives a pretty good effort for the most part but is woefully underutilized. When it comes to the hand-to-hand stuff, he supplies Lamas with two good brawls featuring neat choreography and appealing camera angles; but sadly, the rest of the action is limited to a few ho-hum shootouts and a couple disappointing weapons encounters. The final showdown between Lamas and James Lew is particularly unsatisfactory for all its plodding. Other than that, we get to see James kill a man with a length of rope with a knot on the end, which should've been cool but just looks strange. Of course, with a bit more of it, even this mediocre stuff could've come across as satisfying, but seeing as it's spread so thin throughout the film, it ends up being a tease.
"Blood for Blood" hovers somewhere between the 2- and 3-star range but gets the latter by way of my generosity: I really think director John Weidner (Private Wars) wanted to make a good martial arts movie but ended up feeling obligated to stuff all of the other junk in as well and got sidetracked. What we're left with is far from the worst Lorenzo Lamas film you'll ever see but probably one that could've been marketed better: it's more of a fast food thriller than an action movie and ought to be viewed in such capacity.
Blood for Blood seems like your basic average American martial arts movie on the surafce, but the story is just too dragged out, Lorenzo Lamas can not support a lead role, the action is weak, and I hoped for actors such as Mako and Steven Vincent Leigh be used a little more than they were.
Lorenzo Lamas plays a cop named Kang who is ordered, along with a bunch of his partners, to take care of the rivalry between the Cambodians and Russians in the area. Unaware at first, Kang learns that he is a part of the clan that the Camboadians are, only that these guys have corrupted everything. Its up to him to set things straight. The clan's leader is eventually taken over by the worthy Taka (James Lew - Showdown, Perfect Weapon, Timecop). In the end, its Taka vs Kang in a 3 minute fight that is a joke. Half the time is spent staring each other in the eyes or walking around waiting for the other to strike. I was hoping for a more exicintg fight between these two.
The credits give a sense of hope with people like James Lew, and also Mako (Perfect Weapon, Balance of Power) and Steven Leigh (Ring of Fire, Deadly Bet, Sword of Honor). Mako gets only a few small scenes and Steven Leigh's martial art skills are never used.
As for action, there is very little overall. The only two notable fight scenes are mid-way through in a bar and the final two with James Lew vs Lorenzo Lamas. Average fights that can't make the movie worth saving.
Quality looks good in this movie, but only on the surface. Acting is bland, cheesiness is abundant, plot is too slow, and fighting is average at best. Not a worthy film, and its a shame, cause I wanted it to be.
This film has very low production values, an overall cheapness of sets. Lead actor is wooden. Ocassionally some good action scenes and nasty scenary-chewing villains. Lead actress Diane Dilascio (a great succubus in POLTERGEIST: THE LEGACY'S "Black Widow" episode) is woefully underutilized here as a fretting housewife.
Peace loving police officier Kang (Lamas) gets caught up in a war with the Cambodian Mafia. From inside himself he finds the power to fight this modern day evil with a power handed down through the ages. Great martial arts scenes (including swordplay). Solid acting and a chance to see another side of the actor as he portrays a loving husband and father.