Blu-ray Commentary: “Bloodstone”

Ah, the ’80s. The explosion of the home video revolution meant that a lot of genre pictures like Bloodstone found a home even if they faltered theatrically. This movie was an unusual entry in the post-Raiders Of The Lost Ark and Romancing The Stone genre of then-modern adventurer pictures for it was shot in southern India and co-starred a major figure of South Indian cinema, Rajinikanth. There was not a lot of information available about this film online, so I relied not only on two friends who grew up in the region (Charu Suri and Vivek Hegde) for information, but I also reached out to two of the films costars, Anna Nicholas and Jack Kehler, who gave me some great stories. Without their help, this commentary wouldn’t be as rich as it is, so I thank them!

Bloodstone is not a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination, but it has some fun moments and features wonderful Indian locations shot in the late 1980s that probably don’t look the same today. One of the strengths of certain genre pictures, even for many of their weaknesses, is that they captured special moments in time because they were using real locations and did not have a lot of crowd control for real-life extras. I’m glad Arrow Video reached out to have me work on this.

The following are reviews for my work on Bloodstone. I received a lot of complimentary coverage for my commentary. I will add more as other reviews surface. Click on the logo to go to each review site directly.

“Entertainment journalist Bryan Reesman gives a meticulously detailed dissertation on the movie with so much background information, historical context and second-hand anecdotes from cast members. Reesman barely takes a moment to breathe, so every moment is packed with relevant information.”

“Reesman does a great job of giving an oral history of sorts, using the recollections of actors Anna Nicholas, Jack Kehler and his own critiques and historical research. The journalist’s fast delivery helps with the entertaining delivery of a lot of information. I will say this, I’m going to have to listen to this track a few times, happily I might add. There is so much information including discussion of India’s ever evolving borders, the superstar that was Rajinikanth, the regions where the film was produced, casting, the culture in India, and so much more.”

“While we are talkin’ positives, let’s talk about bonus material on this Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment Blu-ray release! First up we get a duo of audio commentaries; one with Little that covers the nuts and bolts of the film’s production (including a horrifying tale of how the tigers were treated on set) and his long career, and the other featuring author Bryan Reesman in a trivia packed chat that runs at a breathless pace!”

“The second track is with New York author and entertainment journalist Bryan Reesman. Reesman begins by discussing the slew of Indiana Jones rip-offs of the 80s, including ‘Romancing the Stone’. The author tells us that co-star Anna Nicholas told him that this film was to be the poor man’s ‘Romancing the Stone’, and like Reesman [notes], it is hard to deny the similarities. It has been a while since listening to a commentary from Reesman and his diligent preparation (including contacting various co-stars for such insider-info prior to recording) has paid off for this informative and fun track. Reesman goes on to discuss star Rajinikanth as well as Nico Mastorakis (not to mention his old colleague Hans Zimmer).”

“The second track is with film journalist Bryan Reesman, and this is a packed track as he moves from discussing actors bios, on set stories, Indian history and how it relates to certain locations, the film’s production, and much, much more. It’s one of the tracks you could play a few times and not grab all the info he’s giving you.”

“In the second audio commentary, journalist and author Bryan Reesman enthusiastically watches the film and discusses the making of it in great detail. 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.”

“Nico Mastorakis productions have always had a blend of the absurd and the divine. THE ZERO BOYS is a personal fave and in BLOODSTONE it seems he finds the perfect blend. Bryan Reesman [in his] commentary gets the film. It’s a fusion piece. A film looking, like Mastorakis, to target audiences outside of the profile.”

“A second commentary features journalist and author Bryan Reesman that notes the film as Rajinikanth’s debut in an English language film, the influence of the Indiana Jones and Romancing The Stone films, the use of elephants in the film, background on the producers, who did what behind the scenes, where some of the different cast members also appeared, the impact of a strike on the production, different locations that were used in the shoot, what Rajinikanth is up to these days including starting his own political party, other projects that Little has been involved with, the creation of the PG-13 rating around this time and its importance to the American box office, the film’s connections to Octopussy, how a whole lot of people on the set got sick and loads more. He was able to interview Anna Nicholas and Jack Kehler as research for this track so he relays a lot of interesting stories that he heard from them during this talk.”

“In his commentary included on this disc as a supplement, Bryan Reesman mentions in the early going how Bloodstone was crafted, at least in part, to help fill the need of programming on then nascent cable television channels, as well as (perhaps more importantly) to fill the shelves of what in 1988 were a hot commodity: video rental stores. Those two facts may be all you need to know about this film, which seeks to recreate some of the excitement of outings like Romancing the Stone.”

“A second audio commentary by film journalist Bryan Reesman seems at first to be filler, but Reesman extensively interviewed both Nicholas and Kehler in preparing the track and relates a lot of their experiences including Nicholas’ hellish forty-hour trip from Los Angeles to Bangalore or Kehler taking a day off to see the Taj Mahal and returning only to discover that the production had pulled up stakes and relocated without telling him because of a strike where they were shooting. He also provides background on some of the other performers, including Stimely who first film role was in BLOODSTONE but had had an extensive commercial career in Europe before it and later credits in soap operas, playing John F. Kennedy four times in large mainstream films (including TRANSFORMERS: DARK OF THE MOON), and more recently produced, adapted, and starred in the award-winning Ray Bradbury adaptation KALEIDOSCOPE.”

“Topics discussed in the audio commentary with Bryan Reesman include, how Bloodstone was inspired by Romancing the Stone’s success, the cast, Dwight H. Little, Nico Mastorakis, information about Bloodstone and his thoughts about Bloodstone. Also, throughout this track he reads onset memories provided by actress Anna Nicholas.”

“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.”

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