"Blood for Blood" (aka "Midnight Man") should have been a moderately good action outing, considering its good cast, sound production values, and general feeling of wanting to succeed. However, at some point, it ceases to be a Lorenzo Lamas martial arts vehicle and tries to be mafia thriller, pseudo-fantasy outing, and Highlander rip-off - all at the same time. While a combo like that sounds moderately interesting, it was too lofty a feature for the filmmakers to aspire to, here, leaving this movie barely distinguishable from (or more worth watching than) any other Lamas flick from this period.
The story: when a bust on a Cambodian crime ring goes wrong, it unlocks a strange consciousness in police officer John Kang (Lamas, Renegade). He will need to channel his new power to defeat the crime wave, which has retaliated against the police department by sending its deadliest warrior (James Lew, Balance of Power) to wipe out the officers involved.
First and foremost, Lorenzo Lamas in no way passes as a Cambodian like the film would have you believe - even a second generation Cambodian. He does, however, do a decent job of acting his two-dimensional role and he's complimented by the respectable supporting performances of Eric Pierpont (Alien Nation) as his department buddy and Golden Globe winner James Shigeta (Flower Drum Song) as an aging mob boss. The inimitable Mako (Conan the Barbarian) gets top billing but, disappointingly, only has two scenes in the entire movie. Production values are pretty good, but then again, the movie doesn't do anything or take you anywhere out of the ordinary - a shame, considering its weirdo storyline could've offered up some interesting events or locales.
Fight choreographer John Salvitti (who collaborated with Donnie Yen on the action content of Hero) gives a pretty good effort for the most part but is woefully underutilized. When it comes to the hand-to-hand stuff, he supplies Lamas with two good brawls featuring neat choreography and appealing camera angles; but sadly, the rest of the action is limited to a few ho-hum shootouts and a couple disappointing weapons encounters. The final showdown between Lamas and James Lew is particularly unsatisfactory for all its plodding. Other than that, we get to see James kill a man with a length of rope with a knot on the end, which should've been cool but just looks strange. Of course, with a bit more of it, even this mediocre stuff could've come across as satisfying, but seeing as it's spread so thin throughout the film, it ends up being a tease.
"Blood for Blood" hovers somewhere between the 2- and 3-star range but gets the latter by way of my generosity: I really think director John Weidner (Private Wars) wanted to make a good martial arts movie but ended up feeling obligated to stuff all of the other junk in as well and got sidetracked. What we're left with is far from the worst Lorenzo Lamas film you'll ever see but probably one that could've been marketed better: it's more of a fast food thriller than an action movie and ought to be viewed in such capacity.