DirectorDwight H. Little
Release Date(s)1988 (July 21, 2020)
Studio(s)Omega Entertainment (Arrow Video)
- Film/Program Grade: C-
- Video Grade: A
- Audio Grade: A-
- Extras Grade: A-
Produced by Nico Mastorakis (Island of Death, The Zero Boys) and directed by Dwight H. Little (Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers), Bloodstone debuted in India in 1988 but made its US premiere on home video the following year. An English language vehicle for Indian star Rajinikanth that self-admittedly apes elements of Romancing the Stone and Raiders of the Lost Ark, the film came and went as just another B grade actioner—not far removed from the output of Cannon Films.
A large, twelfth century ruby is being smuggled into India by Mr. Lorre (Jack Kehler), who happens to be sharing a train with the recently-wedded Sandy and Stephanie McVey (Brett Stimely and Anna Nicholas). Aware of its arrival, the rich and powerful Ludwig Van Hoeven (Christopher Neame) sends his men to get the ruby at the train station before it falls into the wrong hands, including those of police inspector Ramesh (Charlie Brill) who wishes to return it to the people of India. The action ensues when Lorre hides the ruby in Stephanie’s bag, who in turn leaves it in the trunk of a taxi, driven by the tough and resourceful Shyam Sabu (Rajinikanth). Everyone is soon on the hunt for the ruby, including Van Hoeven who kidnaps Stephanie, forcing Sandy and Shyam to team up in order to find her and exchange the ruby for her life.
What’s unfortunate about Bloodstone is not that it isn’t trying. It definitely has a variety of beautiful and interesting locations on its side. It’s shot well, keeps a brisk pace, and has all of the ingredients for an entertaining action adventure story. Unfortunately, nothing ever gels into a cohesive and appealing narrative. The dialogue is sometimes awful, many of the leads are bland, and the action is subpar. It doesn’t help that Charlie Brill is irritatingly unfunny as the comic relief, nor is it effective when Van Hoeven takes Stephanie hostage and treats her like a princess (in a very Beloq sort of way). It’s certainly not a slog to sit through, but Bloodstone’s whole is not greater than the sum of its parts—though it definitely isn’t lazy or incompetent in its attempt.
Discrepancies aside, Bloodstone comes to Blu-ray through Arrow Video, presenting the film with a new, and surprisingly gorgeous, 2K restoration from the original 35 mm interpositive. Grain has been attenuated well, giving the presentation a highly organic appearance. Detail comes through brilliantly, regardless of lighting levels, but impresses the most in natural environments. Skin tones appear accurate and the color palette is lush, allowing for vivid shades of green and red, among other strong hues. Black levels are also deep with excellent shadow detail. Brightness and contrast levels are ideal, there’s no visible leftover damage, and the entire presentation is stable.
The audio is included in English 5.1 DTS-HD and English 2.0 LPCM, with optional subtitles in English SDH and Greek. While never allowing for panning activity, the 5.1 track does space out its sound effects and score well enough, giving gunfire extra dynamic muscle. Dialogue exchanges are mostly clear and discernible, including obviously overdubbed moments. The stereo track is much of the same, but with less speaker space to stretch out in.
The following extras are also included:
- Audio Commentary by Michael Felsher and Dwight H. Little
- Audio Commentary by Bryan Reesman
- Keeping it to Myself: A Selfie Interview with Nico Mastorakis (HD – 28:31)
- From Bollywood to Bloodstone (HD – 22:00)
- Original Theatrical Trailer (HD – 3:15)
- 2020 Re-Issue Trailer (HD – 2:01)
- Image Gallery (HD – 28 in all – 4:40)
In the first audio commentary, Michael Felsher guides Dwight H. Little through a series of questions about his filmmaking background, how he got onto the project, and his experiences making it—all while watching it far apart from each other. In the second audio commentary, journalist and author Bryan Reesman enthusiastically watches the film and discusses the making of it in great detail. Keeping it to Myself is an excellent and eccentric making-of, spearheaded by Nico Mastorakis, who takes us through the background on the film and the making of it, even occasionally including rare outtakes. From Bollywood to Bloodstone is an audio essay by Indian cinema expert Josh Hurtado about the rise and subsequent explosion of Indian star Rajinikanth. The image gallery contains 28 on-set stills. Also included is a 24-page insert booklet featuring cast and crew information, the essay Bloodstone: Hollywood to Kollywood, via Greece by Mark Cunliffe, and restoration information.
While there’s more to be appreciated about Bloodstone than fully enjoyed, Arrow Video’s release sports a fantastic A/V presentation and a quality set of extras that, despite appearing small, pack quite a punch—even more so than the film itself.
– Tim Salmons