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Blood Work (2002)

R  |   |  Action, Crime, Drama  |  9 August 2002 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.4/10 from 32,165 users   Metascore: 64/100
Reviews: 258 user | 145 critic | 34 from

Still recovering from a heart transplant, a retired FBI profiler returns to service when his own blood analysis offers clues to the identity of a serial killer.



(novel), (screenplay)
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Cast overview, first billed only:
Graciella Rivers (as Wanda De Jesús)
Mason Lucero ...
Reporter #1
Reporter #2
Mrs. Kang (as June Kyoko Lu)


Retired FBI profiler Terry McCaleb (Eastwood), who has recently had a heart transplant, is hired by Graciela Rivers (De Jesus), to investigate the death of her sister, Gloria, who happens to have given McCaleb his heart. On the case, he soon deduces that the killer, who staged the murder to look like a random robbery, may actually be a serial killer Terry was trailing for years in the FBI. Can the elderly and feeble McCaleb, who had intended to spend his retirement living on his boat in the Los Angeles harbor, and who can't drive, and has to nap regularly, muster up the endurance to find the killer? Written by Amir Al-Kourainy <>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


He's a heartbeat away from catching the killer See more »

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

9 August 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Deuda de sangre  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$7,312,413 (USA) (9 August 2002)


£165,692 (UK) (3 January 2003)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |



Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


As of 2010, this is the last theatrically released film that was fully composed by Clint Eastwood's longtime collaborating composer Lennie Niehaus (a relationship which started from Tightrope (1984)). Clint's later movies would be composed by Kyle Eastwood & Michael Stevens (Letters from Iwo Jima (2006), Gran Torino (2008), Invictus (2009)), and even Clint himself (Mystic River (2003), Million Dollar Baby (2004), Flags of Our Fathers (2006), Changeling (2008), Hereafter (2010)). Since this film, Niehaus has conducted and orchestrated all but the latest two of Clint's films, "Invictus" and "Hereafter" (which were conducted and orchestrated by Roger Kellaway and Ashley Irwin, respectively). See more »


When Terry visits the detective in her office, the time on the clock behind her is inconsistent between shots. See more »


[first lines]
Detective Arango: [referring to McCaleb at crime scene] Okay, listen. Whatever happens, it'll his face on the front page.
See more »


Referenced in Blue Neon Night: Michael Connelly's Los Angeles (2004) See more »

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User Reviews

Eastwood is the Anti-Dirty Harry in this elegant and classy thriller...
8 August 2002 | by (Montreal, Canada) – See all my reviews

While it might not be the most stylish or fast paced manhunt thriller, Clint Eastwood's 'Blood Work' is still a very enjoyable piece of film. Stylish in its' own manner, this drama returns to the yesteryears of filmmaking and displays Eastwood's talent as an accomplished Director. Today's cinema heavily relies on nifty editing effects and fast paced dialogue to retain the interest of the impatient audience, yet Eastwood gives us a refreshing and simplistic tale revolving around the resolution of various dastardly murders.

Eastwood stars and directs in this manhunt thriller that still manages to retain the intriguing effect in a film in which the characters; not actions, drive the film. Based on the novel by Michael Connelly, Brian Helgeland (A Knight's Tale, Payback) transforms the novel into a great script. In this film, Eastwood plays the anti-Dirty Harry in typical Eastwood fashion as he is thrust back onto the case of a vicious serial killer two years after retirement.

As FBI Agent Terry McCaleb, he is forced off the case after suffering from a near fatal heart attack. Two years after, he is given a new heart and through a freak occurrence with the donor's heart, he is forced back onto the case allowing for an interesting cat and mouse chase.

Eastwood has his imprints all over the film as he sticks with Musical composer Lennie Niehaus for his film once again. Niehaus' sporadic and rare musical additions are usually jazz based and open the film in an elegant manner instead of the usual commercialist propaganda that is not needed when opening a film of this nature.

Instead, Eastwood treats us to a good old-fashioned hunt in which the mystery slowly unravels in front of the viewer allowing for only the clues to be deciphered. The plot is seemingly eerie and for some reason reminded me of Screenwriter Andrew Kevin Walker's work (Sleepy Hollow, Seven) for how deliciously evil and calculated the motives for the crimes are. As a true professional, Eastwood lays low on the violence and while there are only a handful of action scenes, the tension builds as the clues become available and the audience begins to piece the puzzle together.

The ingenious script calls for some sold acting and the casting is excellent as Eastwood calls upon Angelica Huston as his perseverant Doctor and Jeff Daniels who at first seems to be only present for comic relief but has a surprisingly more important and unexpected role. Wanda De Jesus and Tina Lifford are also excellent as they round out the important cast members who all play a giant role in the serial killer's meticulous and mischievous plot.

As aforementioned, while it might not elicit the suspense thrills one would find in the Eastwood - Wolfgang Petersen collaboration 'In the Line of Fire', the film still is a well-crafted and engineered film that calls for attention. Yet, one point of contention is a love relationship that happens in the film. True: Eastwood is a legend and could do whatever he wants with his films, but somehow seeing a man his age hook up with a younger woman under those circumstances seemed to yell out 'insanity'. Perhaps to others it fit the film, but in this particular context, it seemed trivial and contrived and can make many wonder if Eastwood simply puts those scenes in to make himself appear to be the epitome of masculinity. In any event, it was a treat to see a 'back-to-basics' thriller that pays off at the end and avoids the formulaic clichés usually attached to these projects.

Giancarlo's Rating: **1/2

27 of 36 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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