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Wow. How far great actors have fallen eh? Sean Bean at one point played one of the finest villains film had to offer as Alec Trevelyan in GoldenEye, had memorable roles in blockbusters like The Lord of the Rings, The Island, Troy, and National Treasure, he played a central role as Lord Eddard Stark in Game of Thrones, considered to be one of the best television shows of all time, and now... this. What a bummer. Rant aside, Wicked Blood in a nutshell is about a young girl with no parents who gets caught up between two rival gang playing a game of tug of war for control of the small towns drug trade.
As we open the film we meet Hannah Lee Baker (Abigail Breslin), a quick-witted, smart young teenager who appears to be a social outcast (despite being cute and confident) that spends her days playing chess by herself out on her front porch. She lives with her clichéd bitchy sister, Amber (Alexa Vega), a snob that is rude to her sister for no reason, calling her an idiot, and is constantly putting her down as inferior to Amber herself. Aren't we supposed to sympathize with Amber as well? Guess not. Anyways... Their parents both had died in some unexplainable event that had transpired some years earlier and now they find themselves indebted to their Uncle Frank Stinson (Sean Bean), who happens to be the town's drug source that uses the local strip club as a front for his illegal activities, and rules the town with an iron fist, along with his muscle, his younger brother, Bobby (Jake Busey.) Amber is providing for her sister and their ultra hipster heroin addicted uncle Donny (Lew Temple), while paying off their debt to their Uncle by working the graveyard shift at a small town diner while Donny cooks the product Frank sells.
At work Amber meets a quiet man named Bill Owens (James Purefoy.) The two quickly hit it off and begin to date, eventually falling in love and talk about moving in with one another. Meanwhile, One random night while Amber is with Bill, law enforcement show up and threaten Hannah with Foster care for info on her uncle Donny's whereabouts, because of his connection with Uncle Frank. For some contrived reason, she wants to continue living with a drug addict, a sister who constantly abuses her, and having her life controlled by a drug lord that she just witnessed murder an innocent person. Hannah says that this development can't happen (wouldn't that be a better life for her? Just gotta roll with the stupidity I guess...) so she decides to go to work for Frank himself citing a need for money, by delivering the product Donny cooks by bicycle, stating to Frank that the cops "wouldn't look twice at a little girl on a bike." Frank accepts and she begins working for him.
We're quickly shown that the deliveries being made, are in fact to Bill Owens, who turns out to be a rival drug trafficker, whose organization wants to step out from underneath the thumb of Frank's rule. After a few predictable twists and turns, Hannah eventually decides to takes matters into her own hands to get her family out of their current living hell by playing Frank, Bobby and Bill all against one another that plays out in quite the exciting finish, despite the poorly cohesive buildup.
+ The film gets 2 stars simply for the performances of the central actors and the fact that it looked like Lew Temple was having fun. Breslin has to carry the entire film on her shoulders as none of her co-stars get over 15 minutes of screen time, and she has the acting chops to do so. Bean gives it his all, transforming into the criminally underdeveloped Uncle Frank, he's menacing in the role and knocks the southern accent he adopts for the role straight out of the park. Vega and Purefoy are both terribly underused in the film as well.
+ The final 20 minutes were solid I guess.
- A drug king whom rules the town with an iron fist and is feared by all is outsmarted at every turn by a 13 year old girl... I don't think I have to say more.
- Forgettable twists that aren't really surprising.
- Mark Young proves he's a better director than writer with providing a great atmosphere, though the film itself is full of illogical plot holes while beating the audience over the head with using chess as an overarching metaphor for the entire narrative, as if the film will play out with some level of complexity.
Video and Audio:
Wicked Blood is presented in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio, the high definition transfer shows great contrast with crisp, clean whites throughout, while the rich blacks are strong and bold. The colors are vivid and varied, with excellent saturation, making for an overall pleasing watch. There are some signs of grain throughout the film, but for the most part, the production is crisp and clean throughout.
For the audio, the film utilizes a lossless DTS-HD master audio option delivering an excellent track that doesn't disappoint. The dialogue is clear, clean and well detailed throughout. The mix has a decent score that amps up in the appropriate action scenes, but undertones the dramatic scenes quite well. There were no signs of any kind of dropouts or distortions throughout.
Extras: - Trailer for the film. Overall:
My only thought after watching this film, was why in god's name did Sean Bean lower himself so far that he'd accept a film like this? This film is not very good with little redeeming features, it's really not even a movie that's "so bad it's good", it's just bad. It's uninspired, lazy, has no ambition, full of clichés, unlikable characters, some bad acting, and a story that is horrendously executed. I originally had this listed at 2.5/5, but after thinking about it, the fact that this film wasted such a wonderful cast and actually had a lot of unused potential simply grates on me. In better hands, this film could have been much better. The only redeemable thing about this film are a couple of solid performances from a few of the actors who are far too good for a film like this. It's barely worth a rental. I'd say Skip it, but if you're a fan of the cast, it could be worth a watch on Netflix.
- Trailer for the film.