Review: Blood Of Redemption (Blu-ray/DVD)

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Title: Blood Of Redemption
Format: Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack / DVD
Release Date: September 24, 2013
Studio: Entertainment One
Original MSRP: $29.98 (Blu-ray/DVD Combo) / $19.98 (DVD)
Number of Discs: 2
Language: English
Subtitles: English
MPAA Rating: NR

Audio Review:
The audio review for this movie is available on Episode 337 of the podcast.

Story:
In Blood Of Redemption, told entirely in flashback, Dolph Lundgren plays Axel, the bodyguard of a Crime Family run by Serge (Robert Miano) and his son Quinn (Billy Zane). Times are changing and the protection they’ve enjoyed over the years, in the form of a US Senator, will soon be gone. Serge decides it’s time to retire and close up the business, ending their long-standing relationship with with another family run by Hayden (Robert Davi). Meanwhile, Serge’s other son, Kurt (Gianni Capaldi) who has been kept out of the family business his whole life is about to join the FBI. Also entering the mix is Hayden’s violent, unpredictable nephew, Campbell (Vinnie Jones).

The first half-hour or so of the film sees all the major players and possible motives set up for the big night when all hell breaks loose. Several people end up dead and one is in jail. Axel is left to piece together what happened with Quinn’s girlfriend (Jelly Howie) as he tries to figure out who’s behind the sudden downfall of his employers.

The movie is obviously working with a smaller budget, but the Directors Giorgio Serafini and Shawn Sourgose really do a great job disguising that fact. Helped by a surprisingly good script, nice locations and clever camera angles, they manage to elevate Blood Of Redemption above the B-movie fodder it could have been.

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The action is good throughout and the fight scenes are really well staged considering the lower budget nature of the film. Lundgren even has a fight scene with a very angry and surprisingly strong woman at one point which ends up being a fun break from the stereotypical fight scenes in movies.

That’s not to say this is a great movie, it’s a good movie, with a mystery that twists and turns keeping the viewer guessing right up to the surprising conclusion. There are a few problems with the script, most notably in how the big heist is pulled off in the middle of the film, but overall, it holds up pretty well. Lundgren and Jones really work to make the movie as good as it can be. Davi is excellent (as always) though his accent could use some work, and Zane gives an understated performance which may seem like he’s just going through the motions, but underneath, it really speaks to who his character is. There are, of course, a few smaller parts which aren’t played all that well by some of the other actors, but overall it’s really good.

Video:
Well shot, and that can make all the difference between a bad low budget movie and a good one (for comparison, see Zombie Massacre). With limited time and resources, the Production Team really made good use of their locations with great lighting and choice of camera angles.

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The Blu-ray looks excellent, as expected, with colors consistent throughout. The big surprise though is the DVD which actually looks almost as good. It’s a great transfer on both discs.

Audio:
The sound design is actually better than I expected it to be. With a number of fight scenes, explosions and gun fights, the sound can mean the difference between a good experience and just another B-movie. It’s all pretty excellent with the odd standout being the sound bullets make when they hit people. Not that I’ve ever heard that in real life, but it seems more real to me than most movies I’ve seen.

The music is really good throughout as well, adding tension when necessary and never drowning out the dialogue. This all helps elevate the proceedings above other B-movie fare.

Bonus Features:
There’s not a whole lot here, but I would guess that’s due to the budget the film had more than anything else.

  • “Making Of” Featurette (11:49) – A short promo video for the film featuring some of the stars discussing their roles and favorite scenes
  • Trailer (1:40) – Standard trailer for the film

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Conclusion:
While it’s no Oscar winner, Blood Of Redemption is a pretty solid little action flick. It’s a B-movie aspiring to be more. In some places it succeeds and in others it fails. The script is good (counterfeiting operation room break-in notwithstanding) and the acting and fight scenes are better than expected.

I mean, come on, look at that cast. It’d be pretty hard to mess things up with a cast like this and it really holds together well. The setup at the beginning gives just enough character development to get viewers up to speed before it yanks the rug out from underneath them. If you’re sharp, you’ll be able to figure out who’s behind it all before then end, but there’s enough ambiguity there that you probably won’t know for sure until it’s all revealed.

Score:
8.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the movie using the Roxio Game Capture HD Pro screen capture feature.

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