Clint Eastwood has a broken heart. Actually quite literally… his heart is giving out, which makes it hard to chase the bad guys through city streets. Even though Clint was already in his 70s when he made Blood Work, you are still quite convinced that he could keep pace for miles with a criminal half his age. But, his heart finally slows him down, and Clint (does his character name matter?) gets a heart transplant and leaves the FBI.
While still recovering with his new heart, clint gets a knock on his sailboat door (where his lives the bachelor retirement dream), and a beautiful young woman (Wanda De Jesus) wants to hire him for his detective work. Her sister was murdered, you see, in a mini-mart robbery. But before Clint can say, “Screw you! I’m retired!” the woman clarifies and said that it is her beloved dead sister’s heart that beats in Clint’s newly revived chest. Yeah, OK Clint, you’ve got to take the case.
Blood Work is a pretty by-the-book mystery. Clint is being stalked by a serial murderer that leaves clues specifically for him, yet still remains uncaught. This new murder may or may not be linked to his old nemesis. Clint has to deal with surly cops who think he’s doing their job (including one played by the way over acting Paul Rodriguez). There are several suspects that stand out, but lead to dead-ends. Clint’s weird neighbor at the marina, the perpetual slacker Buddy (Jeff Daniels) follows him around like a puppy dog, while in the meantime Clint (of course) starts a weird chemistry-free relationship with the woman he is helping.
Blood Work is surprisingly weak and predictable, for having landed in the midst of Clint Eastwood’s resurgence as a stellar director in the last 20+ years or so. After all, the next movie that he directed was the acclaimed Mystic River (2003). The best performances are unsurprisingly be old pros that do the best with what they are given. That would be Clint himself (of course), who is believable as a weary retiree who just wants to relax, but can’t help liven up with “one more case”, and Anjelica Huston, who has a small role as Clint’s doctor. When Anjelica scolds Clint out of anger and concern that he is running a fever while running around (still not recovered from his major surgery), you realize that there was a different, better movie hiding in Blood Work. The movie should have just been about Clint the recovering patient, and Anjelica his concerned and caring doctor. Now that could have been an age-appropriate love story with some real chemistry.
The extras on the Blood Work Blu-Ray release are pretty by the book, with a couple of theatrical trailers, a “making of” featurette behind the scenes with the cast and crew, and, perhaps most interesting, “A Conversation in Spanish with Clint Eastwood, Wanda De Jesus, and Paul Rodriguez” where the actors discuss the film, along with scenes from the film in English. This seemed like an interesting and obvious (in a good way) idea for a film extra, especially considering the plot of the film included Spanish-speaking characters and took place in the greater Los Angeles area.