Blu-ray Review: Bloodstone



Low budget producers that care about making movies will go anywhere in the world to get their next feature shot. As long as the country has a working studio, competent craftsman and decent local talent that can be cast in minor roles, a producer has open ears. When those three elements cost less than dinner at Musso & Frank Grill, a producer is on the next flight with key talent in the seats around them. Whether it be Romania, Philippines, Chile or Wilmington, North Carolina, a producer will make that country work for a project if they can make a film for less than half of Hollywood production. Nico Mastorakis understood this when he went into overdrive making films in the ’80s. The Greek filmmaker had a deal at Paramount, but realized the cost of making a studio film was so great that nobody wanted to green light his pitches. So he went indie and went around the world to make his projects at affordable prices. India was already known for it’s movie production and received the nickname Bollywood. It was natural that Mastorakis would find himself in Banglore making an adventurous tale about a massive ruby called Bloodstone.

The Bloodstone ruby was part of the funeral for Princess Lafla who died in the 11th Century. Her father put a bit of a curse on the baseball sized red precious gem. Nearly 1,000 years later the Bloodstone has been stolen from the British Museum. But that doesn’t seem to matter to Sandy (Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death‘s Brett Stimely) and Stephanie (Hot Resort‘s Anna Nicholas). The couple are on their honeymoon as she checks out her father’s textile mill business. What they don’t know is that the man met on the train is the thief. The appropriately named Paul Lorre (The Big Lebowski‘s Jack Kehler) is supposed to get the gem to the ruthless Van Hoeven (Dracula AD 1972‘s Christopher Neame) for his big payday. But when Lorre sees the cops are on his tail, he dumps the Bloodstone into the baggage of the unsuspecting couple. They become even more unsuspecting when the ruby falls out of their bags into the trunk of the cab driven by Shyam Sabu (Muthu‘s Rajinikanth). Lorre goes after the couple to get his ruby back.

Bloodstone is a fun escapist tale of a honeymoon derailed. The film didn’t get a proper release in America since it went directly to VHS in the time when that could be a profitable venue for low budget films. This is disappointing because Rajinikanth does such a great job as the cabbie who is the key to keeping the couple alive. Director Dwight H. Little uses the Indian locations to elevate the film. Nico Mastorakis’s script doesn’t merely transplant an American jewelry smuggling script to India. It feels like everything belongs here. Little handles the action scenes so they are exciting without going overboard. He’d go on to make Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers, Marked for Death, Rapid Fire and Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home. The movie If you’re a fan of ’80s action films in exotic locations, Bloodstone is an exciting evening in a sweaty climate. You might want to turn off the AC to get the proper mood in the room.

The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The new restoration is a 4K transfer that really brings out the details in the Indian action. The audio is DTS-HD MA 5.1 that brings the jungle into your living room. There’s also a stereo 2.0 PCM uncompressed audio from the original release. Although odds are you only heard it in mono if you rented the tape back in the ’80s. The subtitles include English and Greek. Great that Nico made sure his pals in Greece can read along.

Commentary Tracks include director Dwight H. Little recounting his time making the action so far away from Los Angeles. He landed the gig because he was non-union at the time. The second track features writer Bryan Reesman. He had interviewed a few cast members so he shares their stories of strange ways things worked in India.

Keeping it to Myself (28:31) is producer/co-writer Nico Mastorakis discussing what it took to shoot in India in the ’80s. This was shot during the COVID-19 crisis using his iPhone. He had to do part of the film remotely as the crew went deep into India while Nico stayed back in Los Angeles. He gives details on the Indian producers who handled the production and his cast.

From Bollywood to Bloodstone (22:00) is an audio appreciation of actor Rajinikanth by writer Josh Hurtado. He gives a history of how a bus conductor became a huge action star in Bollywood.

Trailers includes the original trailer (3:15) which explains the Bloodstone ruby and the 2020 Re-issue (2:01) makes things feel more like an art film about newlywed looking for the ruby.

Image Gallery (4:40) are publicity shots from the production.

Arrow Video present Bloodstone. Directed by: Dwight H. Little. Screenplay by: Nico Mastorakis. Starring: Rajinikanth, Brett Stimely, Anna Nicholas, Charlie Brill, Jack Kehler, Christopher Neame and Tej Sapru. Rated: PG-13. Running Time: 90 minutes. Released: July 21, 2020.

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