Tuesday, January 18, 2011

'Blood Money' is well done, but run-of-the-mill

Blood Money (aka "The Arrangement" (1999)
Starring: Michael Ironside, Currie Graham, Lori Petty, Richard Riehle, Bill Dow, Paul Coeur, and George Buza
Director: Michael Ironside
Rating: Five of Ten Stars

Two police detectives (Graham and Ironside) must protect a stripper (Petty) who is the only living witness in a brutal murder from killers brazen enough to murder a police officer within a Federal courthouse. Meanwhile, a shadowy figure working with the assassins is betraying them from within the police department.

"Blood Money" collects nearly every police drama cliche you care to mention between its opening and closing credits, so if you're a fan of hardbitten renegade cops pining for their dead wives, obnoxious Federal agents feuding with the local police, flamboyant gangsters, and police captains who go around shouting at anyone and everything, then this movie is for you. You'll even get all your favorite bits presented straight, with no twists or mockery. The only cliche not present is the young and idealistic cop who is at odds with his partner and/or has his idealism shattered by the events of the story; while Currie Graham does play a younger parter to Michael Ironside's grizzled veteran, he is not a rookie but is an experienced detective who is a fine and sensible match for the man he's working with.

The performances in the film are in keeping with the straight forward material, with the actors portraying figures more than characters. Ironside, Graham, and Reihle are all fine in their roles as cop cliches, while Lori Petty is decent as the typical "feisty stripper who shares a secret past with one of the cops" character. (That said, I'm not sure she was the best choice for the part; I like Petty as an actress, but she doesn't play scared or hysterical very well, and this part called on her to do both. And she didn't quite rise to the occassion.)

All in all, this is an entertaining, if unspectacular, film, not unlike the late-night cable cop dramas from the 1980s and 1990s. That's really all you need to know to decide if it's worth your time or not.

Trivia: This film was Michael Ironside's directorial debut. It is also the only film he's directed so far.