Blood Work

As a director Clint Eastwood often follows his own bent, but as an actor he seems more interested in following the whims of his audience. This detective thriller he directed and stars in often comes across as another Dirty Harry entry in disguise; the Eastwood hero may be a little different (an FBI man in forced retirement after heart transplant surgery who’s persuaded to hunt down his heart donor’s killer), but the serial killer he’s after is standard issue. This is a picture at war with itself: the ailing, aging hero performs with superhuman fitness and stamina, and his friends and coworkers tell him he looks like shit. Fun as long as it stays with its more mundane peripheral characters (Anjelica Huston, Tina Lifford, Alix Koromzay), this becomes tiresome whenever it falls back on generic types (e.g., Paul Rodriguez’s comic Mexican cop, Igor Jijikine’s Russian heavy); in between are Jeff Daniels and Wanda De Jesus providing the hero’s immediate backup. Brian Helgeland’s script adapts a novel by Michael Connelly. 111 min. (JR)

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