2002 Certificate: 15

Synopsis

Clint Eastwood directs and stars in this adaptation of author Michael Connelly's mystery thriller about a retired FBI agent whose heart condition provides clues to the identity of a murderer. Feeling honour-bound to crack the case, Clint hits the trail of the killer... but does he have the ticker to see it through? Jeff Daniels, Anjelica Huston and Wanda De Jesus co-star.

Director

  • Clint Eastwood

Cast

  • Clint Eastwood

  • Anjelica Huston

  • Jeff Daniels

  • Wanda De Jesús

Review

In his twilight years Clint's under no illusion, even ironically, that's he's the sleek operator of yore. These days it's less Dirty Harry and more Grizzly Harold.

The threatening growl has been replaced by a pitiable croak, but the amused glance remains, albeit framed by a mesh of wrinkles.

Clocking up his 44th movie as the star, he plays veteran FBI profiler Terry McCaleb, who's tempted out of retirement on his boat for one last job.

He called it a day when he suffered a cardiac arrest while chasing the so-called Code Killer, a serial murderer who went to ground when Terry quit.

In a novel, if unlikely, premise, the sister of a murdered mother asks Terry for help - because the transplanted heart beating inside him came from the victim.

Much of the atraction comes from Terry's strained dealings with the Los Angeles police, particularly Detective Arrango (Paul Rodriguez), a Mexican cop resentful of Terry's fame.

Helping him out is boat bum Buddy Noone (Daniels), a lazy neighbour-turned-chauffeur who ferries the wheezing ex-fed around.

However, Terry literally hasn't got the heart for it and is warned by his doctor (Anjelica Huston) that he's risking his new lease of life.

It takes a while to get into gear but, when it does, Blood Work ain't bad at all.

Clint wryly plays the age card (unlike, for instance, Woody Allen) and there's good support from Daniels as the yacht-bound waster.

The dialogue occasionally creaks like an old hulk and it's a tad overlong, but it's further evidence Clint isn't growing old disgracefully.

Tim Evans