CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR:DWIGHT H. LITTLE / SCREENPLAY: CURT ALLEN / NICO MASTORAKIS / STARRING: BRETT STIMELY, RAJINIKANTH, ANNA NICHOLAS / RELEASE DATE: JULY 20TH
An American directs a film from a script by a Greek writer, which is financed by Indian producers, and the end result is 1988's Bloodstone, a mostly by-the-numbers action film about a mysterious giant ruby and those who would stop at nothing to acquire it from an American couple who have been unknowingly caught up.
While nothing spectacular, given that the film manages to trade on familiar imagery from Romancing the Stone and certain parts of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, the end result is worth watching on a lazy, hazy weekend afternoon. Dwight H. Little directed Bloodstone from a script by Nico Mastorakis, and both men definitely knew their way around action films, so the scenes of car and foot chases and hand-to-hand combat are all pretty great, but the dialogue is beyond eye-rolling. Part of that may be due to the fact that every line was evidently looped in post-production, resulting in performances which are less-impressive vocally than they might seem otherwise, visually. Brett Stimely as Sandy McVey certainly seems to be doing his level best to convey no emotion whatsoever, although Anne Nicholas, as his wife, Stephanie, carries quite a bit of enthusiasm and vigor.
All that said, and despite the fact that Sandy and Stephanie are arguably Bloodstone's protagonists, the real star of the film is cab driver Shyam Sabu (Rajinikanth). He's witty, he's clever, and he gets all the best lines and fight scenes. Every time Rajinikanth appears, the viewer perks up and takes notice, because he's just that captivating. The less said about Inspector Ramesh (Charlie Brill) – a character whose portrayal makes Fisher Stevens' role in Short Circuit look classy and refined – the better. Every time he appears, it's teeth-grinding in its tone-deaf offense. It ultimately detracts so much from an otherwise-decent piece of popcorn entertainment to recommend this without strong hesitation.