Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

Sometimes it feels as I’m all alone out there watching these films people. Take this movie ‘Bloodline’ for instance. Made in 2005, released in January of 2007 by Codeblack Entertainment this is a flick that has been around for over a year yet has a lousy 18 rating votes on the IMDB and absolutely zero user and external reviews. That’s too bad really because in the sea of muck that often makes up these Direct-to-Video African American themed movies, ‘Bloodline’ deserves to break through and get some much deserved recognition.

Marcus and Nate are lower case g’s, and half brothers having some fun at the playground in Miami when Nate runs into some trouble with the local hooligans and gets a beat down because of it. Marcus though isn’t about to let his little brother go out like that and runs to his assistance, with the end result Marcus stabbing a kid, which gets both Marcus and Nate interrogated by the police. Since ‘nobody knows nuthin’ the brothers are sent home with their shrill mother, but Marcus’ father is outraged at the trouble his young son has gotten into and rips him from the home to stay with him, leaving Nate alone to deal with his mother who constantly puts him down. Little Nate though has impressed local gangsta Dre (Quicksand – that’s the man’s listed name) who becomes a surrogate father to Nate as the two boys grow up on different sides of the law with both becoming very proficient on their respective paths.

Now as adults Marcus (Money Mark) has become a Miami top cop and part of the task force given the job of bringing down the towns top drug traffickers while Nate (Ump – that’s the man’s listed name) has become a top captain, enforcer and street distributor for Dre who soon find that he has his own pressing troubles to worry about. When Dre gets unceremoniously eliminated from ‘the game’ Nate takes over but finds trouble pretty much at every turn as the senior membership doesn’t like the way he does business, Nate finds that there are assassins pretty much everywhere, anywhere

there isn’t an assassin there are armed thieves, and not to mention the constant police presence. Upper level thug Alex King (Alex Lecount) shows up to help alleviate some of these issues but when a drug deal goes terribly wrong, the two brothers, who haven’t laid eyes on each other in years, are on a collision course. Alex wants the troublesome cop dead, the cops want the Nate crew brought to justice and looks like somebody ain’t gonna make it.

There are a few things that immediately stand out when watching ‘Bloodline’ that separates it from other flicks struggling with little or no budget is that technically speaking director Antwan Smith and his crew obviously knew what the were doing. Things that you take for granted in a big budget film you could take also take for granted here such as pristine sound, shots that were properly framed and staged, decent editing, no boom poles dipping into the scenes or other similar low budget foibles. Hell, I’ve seen big budget flicks with microphones in the scene and crew members running around in the background. Another thing that also helps makes ‘Bloodline’ very watchable are the capable actors that Smith casts in the principle roles. Both of the boys playing young Marcus and young Nate were very good and very believable and there was no drop off in the quality of the performances when the boys turned into men with Money Mark and Ump both delivering very believable, hard edged performances. Even a good number of the supporting performances with Suthun-Boy as Nate’s right hand man Koke and actors Quicksand and Alex Lecount turning in solid work. There were some obvious amateurs amongst the cast but the main leads were generally strong.

Also I would be remiss in not mentioning, not that it is relevant to the quality of the film of course, but there is quite a fine collection of naked and barely clothed brown feminine flesh on display… for those of you who like that kind of thing of course. Who in the world was the stripper in the tiger striped dress? I needs to know. For research purposes only needless to say.

The biggest flaw in ‘Bloodline’ was that after a while the narrative became bit too muddled and unwieldy and eventually started spinning out of control. I never got a good sense of the character of Nate in the sense that on one hand he’s a mid level street distributor, but then the next we thing we see is Nate blowing away the senior mobsters of the organization who’s pissed him off, then in the next scene he’s being chastised by Alex King with whom I would have thought he was on the same level with. Some of the scenes during this mid-way point of the film didn’t flow so well together but it all came back together reasonably well near the end.

All in all, ‘Bloodline’ was a pretty decent flick, low budget or otherwise that deserves to be seen by more people.

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