Bloodrunners is the latest film from director Dan Lantz (Bloodlust Zombies 2011) from a script by Michael McFadden, who also does a great performance in this flick, presenting a refreshing tale of vampires, set in 1933, complete with all the bells and whistles, hoots and hollers, simply a fun and enjoyable movie. The movie made on a modest $180,000 stars ICE-T, rapper and now actor, most known for his work on Law & Order: SVU, though in this film he heads the Serious Vampire Unit aka: Chesterfields. McFadden’s script focuses on the time when prohibition supremely reins the speakeasies pour the booze and suck up the profit or in this case, the blood, displaying some T&A, all for freshly to the horror fans on March 7, from Speakeasy Films. An additional note, IMDB website incorrectly identifies the distribution company for this movie as the same one that produce Til Night (2007) another vampire flick, per clarification from the director Lantz, himself.
The film starts with detective Jack (Michael McFadden) in Chesterfields drinking wine, his choice of drink, even it is prohibition, his drinking justified as he both shaking down owners and uncover, along with his partner Sam (Dan McGlaughlin) while Chesterfield (Ice-T), the band leader, plays. He then introduces the singer Alexandra (Julie Ek) stating “the true queen of the night” a hidden double innuendo, who captures the attention of Sam, but Jack sees Chesterfield disappear, and investigates, questioning the cigarette girl (Tina Marie Connell). Now the movie misses the chance to elevate the level of this horror movie, by avoiding all negative references to race, a black owner, white detectives, 1933 setting, but movie plays it safe. After the police officers’ shifts end, they venture to Rosie’s (Kerry McGann) cathouse, Jack drinks with her, and Sam enjoys teases the ladies of the night, all as a new customer Mr. Washington (Benjamin Kanes) awaits, the proper invitation into the house. Herein, a carefully and fun word game of sexual innuendo and financial reward find themselves all discuss, hence reference his name, and that he mentions the ability to go on all night and special kiss he has to give to Violet (Tammy Jean). One needs to mention that McFadden gave an exception performance, reminding this reviewer of his gruff deadpan humor and demeanor to that of the late actor Bob Hoskins. It is good the film shows the police, slightly corrupt in morals and other means, the profit margin greatly enhancing their salaries. Violet, expresses not a morning person, but herein introduce to the characters Willie (Chris James Boylan) who helps around the cathouse and the new speakeasy (a tad too convenient) and loves Anna (Airen DeLaMater), daughter of Rosie. Soon enough, the police discover a woman’s body in the woods, and thoroughly ravaged with bloody wounds, placing blame on everyone possible before locating a drunken preacher Luther (Jack Hoffman) who takes on the role gusto. After shakedown at the new speakeasy, more officers with Tommy Guns, intercept a booze run, but is actually blood in the red wine bottles, but things become even battier. Especially as Jack, learns more about his WWI memories and nightmares, and using rosary beads to swipe at a bats, a fairly original method, in the vampire lore, but is all enough to take on the Chesterfield Master, one needs to investigate on their own.
Normally in low budgeted horror films, a big name star, appears for 5 to 10 minutes in brief cameo role, however that’s not the case with the actor ICE-T, while not in a lot o scenes does remain to give a solid performance throughout multiple scene in the movie. I hate to give away a spoiler, but ICE-T does play a badass vampire, the head of his family, and one he tells of the backstory, that he staked his Master, a 136-years ago in March (likely consequential to the film released in the month of march).
As for the effects therein lays a few problems, first no bloodlust, the gore kept very low, and with all the shootouts, one expects squibs, sorry no, the practical effects truly rest in a grave, most of everything handled with CGI. True wastes, a vampire coven, strong and powerful, quicken skills; why not deliver blood spraying everywhere to entice the gore-hounds. The vampire design reference to From Dusk to Dawn no wings, but a nifty decent of mad attack skills, but why overuse the concept of slow-mo in the action sequence of avoiding bullets and other devices, this isn’t the Matrix. Costumer Jim Reed, did a wonderful job, in matching up the outfits to the era of 1930s, though ICE-T’s diamond earring might have carried it too far, and the vehicles of then good mock-ups along with a lucky “barn find” of a 1931 Ford Model A prepped for a fast restoration. The locations are felt real, and worked to their best, then again one was real, according to production notes and trivial an actual speakeasy in the 1920s, a secret room hidden under the Star Hotel in Marcus Hook, PA, used for the dungeon.
A standard good versus evil movie, using a fresh take on the vampires, all set in a prohibition era with gangsters and corrupt police, showing everyone has their own motivations. Noted that more gore, would assist the film, but overall, not a triumphant great, yet still some charms for originality and an enjoyable flick to past some time, before dining a main course, and pouring some richly red ‘wine’ to quench one’s thirst.