The straight-to-DVD actioner "Blood of Redemption" may not necessarily be the worst movie I've seen this year, but it probably ranks close. If you were sitting at home watching late night TV for free, I'd tell you to go ahead and take a look at the movie if it sounded promising. But if you're considering spending money on "Blood of Redemption," I'd be much more wary of a recommendation. Rent if you must, but watch it before you buy it. I doubt you'll feel the need to add it to your permanent collection. The movie aspires to be a twisty and clever thriller. But for anyone who has seen their fair share of such movies, nothing will come as much of a surprise in this endeavor. With its leaden pace, heavy-handed dialogue, inexpensive effects, and unconvincing action sequences, the movie has to have some redeeming qualities, right? Well, let's just say that the B-list cast certainly has potential. While the painful narration by lead Dolph Lundgren is a weighty obstacle that the movie can't overcome, the supporting cast includes the great Vinnie Jones, Robert Davi, and Billy Zane. Each has seen their share of successes, but all seem to be phoning it in on this effort. And none can compensate for Lundgren at his most lifeless and inexpressive.
"Blood of Redemption" tells the saga of one crime family and the lug of a bodyguard (Lundgren) caught in the midst of their violent enterprise. When patriarch Serge Forte (Robert Miano) meets an untimely demise at the hands of an unknown assailant, the clan faces a major upheaval. Serge had been positioning the family in a new way, but never had the opportunity to see this take shape. Elder brother Quinn (Billy Zane) goes to jail while younger sibling Kurt (Gianni Capaldi) rises in the field of law enforcement. Meanwhile, the family's trusted henchman (Davi) has brought his volatile nephew (Jones) into the mix. This assortment of players are all jockeying for position and power. As Quinn gets out of jail, he attempts to rebuild the empire that was his birthright. But where does everyone's loyalty lie? Firmly on the outside of the political maneuvering is Lundgren. Framed for a crime he didn't commit, he suddenly reappears to figure things out. With the aid of Quinn's girlfriend (Jelly Howie), they piece together an unpleasant truth about the family to which Lundgren had sworn allegiance.
I might have been more forgiving of "Blood of Redemption" had I not felt that I had seen this exact scenario unfold many times in much better movies. While the plotting is not nearly as clever as the screenwriter might imagine, it is the ineffective action sequences that really caused me to lose hope. In a B-movie action flick, that's the one thing you should probably focus on! But an early scene that has a group jumped in an alley is almost laughably silly and even amateurish. And things don't really improve. Lundgren can't anchor the film, either. As I mentioned, he actually narrates the movie and it is mind-numbingly one note. To hear him unravel the movie's twists, it stretched credibility beyond all belief. I didn't believe he could work a toaster, much less uncover a criminal conspiracy. The other notable performance (for me) was Capaldi. Serving also as the movie's producer, Capaldi seems to want to position himself as an action star. So it was with a fair amount of pleasure that I watched him continually over-acting a tough guy persona (but never convincingly). At only 85 minutes, this one seems quite a bit longer! KGHarris, 9/13.