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Monday, August 24, 2015

BLOOD PUNCH -- DVD Review by Porfle

Remember in GROUNDHOG DAY when Bill Murray was reliving the same day again and again, and kept on killing the same guy over and over in different ways because if he didn't, the guy would kill him?  And the guy's former girlfriend was now Bill Murray's girlfriend and they were all stuck in the time loop together, and the only way to escape from it was to figure out who to kill, and when and how?  Remember that?

You probably don't remember it because it didn't happen, but it happens in Midnight Releasing's new DVD, BLOOD PUNCH (2013), a kickass feature-film directing debut by Madellaine Paxson.  Paxson and scripter Eddie Guzelian used to write episodes of "Power Rangers R.P.M." and have cast former stars of that show in this film's main roles, and they're all excellent.  Who'd have thought "Power Rangers R.P.M." would be the breeding ground for something this good?

Olivia Tennet, who was also in THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS, plays a dark, enigmatic babe named Skyler who recruits mild-mannered brainiac Milton (Milo Cawthorne, DEATHGASM) straight out of a meth-addict rehab group in order to cook up a couple million dollars worth of the stuff for her and her cheerfully psychotic bad-cop boyfriend Russell (Ari Boyland) to sell and make them all rich.

The trouble is, as soon as they get to the secluded cabin where all this is supposed to take place, Milton suspects (correctly, as it turns out) that his life expectancy may be growing shorter.  After a wild evening of meth and peyote, in which the three manage to invoke an ancient Native American curse that affects anyone who spills blood on the sacred land around them, they find themselves trapped in a repeating timeline filled with deceit, betrayal, and what might be referred to as "chronic death syndrome." 

Every day is Tuesday, and each morning begins with killing Russell in whatever way strikes their fancy since he's the most dangerous one and has already proven that he's going to kill Milton by killing him the night before.  This gives Milton and Skyler the rest of the day to throw today's Russell on the pile of dead Russells and brainstorm about how to solve their predicament, which results in their trying a number of desperate ways to set things right again, none of which work.

BLOOD PUNCH is kind of like what would happen if a young Quentin Tarantino had been hired to do a feature-length episode of "The Twilight Zone" and had a ball making it.  It's certainly loads of fun to watch, with surprises galore and an endless sense of mischief that keeps on being scintillating right up to the very last satisfying twist before the fadeout.

Tennet is top-notch as Skyler, the perfect modern-noir mystery woman, with Cawthorne well-cast as the unsuspecting fall guy in the deal.  As Russell, Boyard is a pure delight and makes the character likable despite his utter homicidal insanity.  Cohen Holloway and Adelaide Kane (GOATS) are memorable as Archer, a loose cannon to whom our heroes try to sell their wares, and his femme fatale girlfriend Nabiki, in the film's most bullet-riddled scene (out of several).

Elsewhere, the dramatic plot developments and tongue-in-cheek humor are frequently punctuated by potent doses of violence which is as quirkily entertaining as it is shocking.  While the film is deadpan funny the cast plays it straight, so once we get caught up in this outlandish story the suspense just keeps on building.  In this way, it reminded me of TIMECRIMES, another film of recent years which had the same kind of cockeyed appeal. 

The DVD from Midnight Releasing is in 16:9 widescreen with Dolby 5.1 sound and English subtitles.  Extras consist of several deleted scenes, test footage clips, and bloopers. 

This is the sort of funhouse flick that gives us something cool to watch while we're waiting for the next Tarantino movie to come out.  Not that this one's necessarily as good as a QT flick, but it sure manages to generate that same kind of imaginative zing which makes it stimulating to watch.  And BLOOD PUNCH, one of the best indy films I've seen in a long time, is just all kinds of imaginative.

Buy it at
Street date: Sept. 1, 2015


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