By Tony Sokol
Bloodrunners isn’t a great movie, but it is a fun movie. Now, before you couple that with the star rating at the bottom, remember: most gangster movies didn’t get five stars. There are some Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Edward G. Robinson movies that got awful reviews. And don’t get critics started on George Raft. That doesn’t stop gangster fans from watching gangster movies. The Bowery Boys and East Side Kids movies were B-pictures at best. I have every single one, though I especially love the original Dead End cast. I can say with utter assurance that Ice-T feels the same. Not only that, but I’d wager real money he’s also in love with horror movies, another genre that rarely gets reviewers’ respect.
The picture opens with a drum-cymbal ride. What movie opens with a drum solo? Movies about Prohibition. The Cotton Club did the whole Dutch Shultz execution sequence to the sounds of Gregory Hine’s tap shoes. That’s balls. It also took stones to lead a mixed race band in 1933. It happened, but it took balls of stone. But who are we kidding? We’re here to have a good time and Ice T is doing double time on the horn and polyrhythms with the denizens of the dark night.
If vampires exist, they would have thrived during the Roaring Twenties, what with Dracula being a hit on Broadway, the horror clichés, the Charleston and the cigarette goils. But they would have unlived especially for the finger food. Though some of the vampires like their meat off the thigh.
Leave morality to the fools and martyrs, neither which am I, says cop Jack Malone, as he kicks out with the kickbacks. South Hampton is a cesspool of corruption. Too corrupt for Long Island. They had the whole town moved to Jersey. The cops shake down the money tree Chesterfield’s grocery and speakeasy.
Bloodrunners was probably made in the same amount of time and cost the same kind of money as the old programmers and most of the performances in those movies could be kindly called cardboard.
Ice-T phones in a lot of the performance. Compared with the subtleties he’s brought to Law & Order: SVU and his out of this world turn in New Jack City, this feels like a rush job, but go with me. This had to have started as a passion project not a callous genre merging that first rises from the coffin direct to video.
The fun in the movie comes from the cop, played by Michael McFadden, who throws away great throwaway lines like he’s been tossing them back all his life. He is having a ball playing cops and robbers. Sorry Lemonade, he’s the best thing in the movie. Maybe because he sounds so much like the original voice Alan Reed did for Fred Flintstone. The cop is repressing memories from World War I. He starts getting Doughboy flashbacks about some very original war crimes.
I like the little touches, like using rosary beads as brass knuckles, or how the cop keeps an axe in the car. The effects are cheesy, but plentiful. But it kind of begs the question, in a world where bubbly red is bottled at a premium, why do they waste so much blood? The small town law enforcement establish themselves as racist. They complaining about the melting pot and the colored band leader, but the local cops include a black rookie. The romantic subplot was as annoying as any romantic subplot is in a movie like this.
2 Stars out of 5