Director: Dwight H. LittleScreenplay: Nico Mastorakis & Curt Allen
Starring: Brett Stimely, Rajinikanth, Anna Nicholas, Christopher Neame
BBFC Classification: 15
One time mini-movie-mogul Nico Mastorakis has quite the eclectic back catalogue that spans most of the 1980s and 1990s, and Arrow Video continue to delve into this (sometimes) gold mine of forgotten genre gems. After dusting off the likes of The Zero Boys. The Wind and Blood Tide (all worth picking up and discovering as they’re some fun times!) they’re now giving 1988’s India set action romp Bloodstone a shiny new restoration and plenty of excellent extras.
Mastorakis produces, writes and even edits here handing over directorial duties to Dwight H. Little for an adventure which sees a priceless ruby (the bloodstone of the title!) inexplicably falling into the possession of vacationing American couple Sandy and Stephanie (Stimely and Nicholas), who even more inexplicably pass it onto local cabbie Shyam (Rajinikanth). After much more inexplicable shenanigans, cliched 80s bad guy 101 (Neame) demands the ruby is returned to him, kidnaps Stephanie holding her hostage, meaning Sandy and Shyam must team up to rescue her.
Despite having Dwight Little on hand to direct (he helmed some great old school action films such as Marked for Death and Rapid Fire) Bloodstone is unfortunately one of the lesser Mastorakis produced genre flicks from back in the day. His stamp is all over this and while Mastorakis can be an acquired taste he has produced some great horror and action flicks: I dig his flicks as their often fun, if a little odd! Unfortunately, Bloodstone (despite having all the right ingredients) just isn’t as fun as it should be and while going for a sort of Romancing the Stone adventure vibe, it never really finds a satisfying groove.
The action is sub-par, the lead couple border on insufferable and the “comedy” is limp unfortunately relying on too much outdated cliched cultural stereotyping. This makes it more cringy than entertaining and one wishes the film had instead been a leading vehicle for Indian megastar Rajinikanth, who at the time was making his Hollywood debut here.
Rajinikanth is the saving grace having more charisma than the rest of the cast combined, and the film ignites whenever he is on screen. He really should have been the main focus but hey, back in the day you needed a standard American hero to save the day and sell a picture globally! Bloodstone does manage some fun in fits and starts, moves at a fair clip and the shot-on-location in India setting gives it a great visual look (and the film looks great thanks to Arrow’s new clean up).
Less critical may get more out of it and Rajinikanth almost saves proceedings with his spikey performance but Bloodstone hasn’t aged well and Mastorakis has produced much better.
Bloodstone is released on Blu Ray from Arrow Video 20th July 2020. Special features include:
- High Definition Blu-ray (1080p) presentation
- Original 2.0 Stereo PCM Uncompressed audio and 5.1 Surround audio options
- Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing
- Optional Greek subtitles
- Brand new audio commentary by Bryan Reesman
- Brand new audio commentary by director Dwight H. Little
- Keeping it to Myself – brand new interview with producer and co-writer Nico Mastorakis: A fun and insightful interview with Nico, filmed by himself while in lockdown during the Covid-19 pandemic! He’s on fun and mischievous form offering great anecdotes about the making of Bloodstone (which he was producing from afar while directing comedy caper Glitch! in the US at the same time!) and is refreshingly very complimentary about the cast and crew. He also offers some outtakes and behind-the-scenes-footage of the making of Bloodstone which is great stuff. He’s so enthusiastic about the film (and filmmaking in general) that it’s a pity the film’s energy doesn’t match his. Still, a great feature and another fascinating look into the making of a forgotten film.
- Brand new video essay on Bloodstone’s star Rajinikanth by Indian cinema expert Josh Hurtado: cool little feature that gives an aural history of star Rajinikanth and how he became one of the biggest stars of Indian cinema. It’s a little dry with only stills playing over the commentary but certainly informative. Would have been better if it had included some clips from his other action films that are mentioned.
- Trailers: the cool original old school (and over 3-minute-long!!) trailer, along with the all new modern trailer for this new release: that makes the film look a lot slicker than it is.
- Image gallery
- Original screenplay [BD-ROM content]
- Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly-commissioned artwork by Graham Humphreys
- FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Mark Cunliffe