Warner, as usual, gets it right where it counts and provides DVD viewers with another top-notch presentation in the video department. Blood Work is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer and it simply looks grand. The image is continually tight and detailed and looks just like such a recently released film should on DVD.
Everything looks great from beginning to end, as Blood Work displayed quite a varied and very strong palette. While there was nothing spectacular about the palette itself, my compliments arise from the fact that Blood Work contains scenes during bright daylight and blackest night – in well-lit offices and dim bedrooms – and it handles them all perfectly. Indoor scenes were always nicely lit and perfectly balanced, while the outdoor scenes, especially the ones under the gorgeous California sun, were quite inviting. Balance and contrast were right on the money and there was never any bleeding or oversaturation noted. Black levels were strong throughout and in turn, allowed for excellent shadow detail and delineation – no breakup, murkiness, or muddiness were ever detected. Ultimately, Blood Work was a very pleasant viewing experience.
Issues with the print were miniscule, as I noticed a bit of shimmer on some hospital blinds and lightly colored walls early on in the film, an ever-so-slight amount of edge enhancement in a couple of areas, and some barely discernable grain. Print flaws were practically non-existent and the other flaws mentioned definitely didn’t distract from the enjoyment of the film itself. Major anomalies were never a concern and Blood Work was just a few flaws short of perfection.
Another in a long line of winners from the fine folks at Warner. Blood Work looks amazing and fans of the film will be elated when they see the fine treatment Warner has given the film for home viewers.
Warner provides viewers with a nice Dolby Digital 5.1 mix for Blood Work and while the film is definitely more drama than action, there were quite a few moments in the film that displayed some nice authoring on Warner’s part.
While the majority of the film is front and center, there were plenty of instances that strayed from the front soundstage. One of these instances was during the opening sequence where we have some helicopters hovering over a crime scene and they do a really nice job of playing around in each and every one of your speakers to provide an impressive showing right off the bat. While the film isn’t chock full of these types of moments, Warner leaves us some small clues to their impressive authoring with some nice stereo separation (doors opening and closing off screen, as well as some dialogue) and a splash of low end, as the LFE comes to life during a dream sequence that contains some very deep and cavernous gunshots. As a whole however, there was little ambience in the track, as the majority of the time, reinforcement was only heard in outdoor scenes by the sea and busy indoor scenes at the police department and on the boats used as sets in the film.
Dialogue was always front and center and was always easily understood. There were times, especially early on, where speech was a bit muffled, but it never got to a point where distortion or edginess distracted from comprehending what was being said. The jazzy score from Lennie Niehaus sounded quite nice and received some impressive reinforcement from the surrounds as well.
Warner has also included a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix in French, as well as subtitles in English, French, and Spanish.
As with many Warner titles, extras are rather spotty and Blood Work is no different. There are no “meaty” supplements to delve in to and things get started quickly enough with Cast and Crew. This section is broken down in to two smaller sub-sections – one for the Cast and the other for the Crew. (Duh!) Inside of the ‘Cast’ section, we find filmographies for Clint Eastwood (Terry McCaleb), Jeff Daniels (Buddy Noone), Anjelica Huston (Dr. Bonnie Fox), and Wanda De Jesus (Graciella Rivers), while other cast members listed, without any information, include Tina Lifford (Jaye Winston), Paul Rodriguez (Det. Ronaldo Arrango) and Dylan Walsh (Det. John Waller). The ‘Crew’ section includes information on Brian Helgeland (Screenplay) only and lists Michael Connelly (Author of Novel), and Clint Eastwood (Producer/Director).
Making Blood Work (18:09) is our “First Look” featurette and contained within, we find nothing more than the usual extended trailer for the film. We get interviews with the principals, as they discuss the story and how their characters play in to it, how they came about their role in the film and any research they did to prepare, “backslappy” comments for Eastwood and Daniels, feel good comments about the film in general, and on and on and on. Take any standard-fare “behind-the-scenes” supplement you’ve ever seen and simply interchange the film to Blood Work and you’ll get a good indication of what to expect.
Interviews are intertwined with clips from the film and from behind-the-scenes and after you’re done, you’ll get an odd sense of déjà vu, as "Making" is the same feature you’ve seen before on almost every DVD you own. (As a side note, be careful!, as the extra gives the film away. I’d make sure I watched the film first before I watched this extra.) While it wasn’t a bad extra by any stretch, there just wasn’t a whole lot to set it apart either. Interviewees on the supplement included Clint Eastwood, Jeff Daniels, Anjelica Houston, Wanda De Jesus, and Paul Rodriguez.
For whatever reason, Warner has seen fit to include A Conversation In Spanish With Clint Eastwood, Wanda De Jesus, and Paul Rodriguez (14:18). Yes, that’s the actual title of the extra and it delivers exactly what it advertises – a conversation with the trio in Spanish (or at least for 95% of the extra). Thankfully, for those of us who didn’t pay much attention in high school and college Spanish classes, we have subtitles available to us in English, French, and of course, Spanish. After an intro that goes on way too long using a scene from the film, the trio, individually and as a group, discuss the film itself, character motivations, stories from the set, the recent success of Latino actors in Hollywood, and all of the other generic subjects you’d expect to see in a fluffy promotional piece dealing with a feature film. Believe me, this is nothing more than an extended trailer for Blood Work and you’ve seen this type of extra a million times over – the only difference is that the principals speak in Spanish rather than English.
Finishing off the disc are the Teaser Trailer and the Theatrical Trailer.
Not a lot to write home about here and fans of the film will find themselves sorely disappointed. However, given the box office take for the film, Warner more than likely made a quick-and-dirty business decision and left the DVD edition of Blood Work rather bare.
While the disc is strong where it counts – in the A/V department – it’s a little too light in the extras department to recommend a sight-unseen purchase for those other than hard core fans of the film.