Bollywood action movies are filled with some of the most insane action scenes of all time. Epic horse slides, wile shoot outs, and spectacular chase scenes are just a part of what they have to offer. They fit into the landscape of 1980’s cinema perfectly. Bloodstone is an Indian-American production released in 1988. The movie is about the titular ruby. An American couple, a small time crook, a bumbling inspector, and a taxi driver all become entangled in the mystery of the stone.
Rajinikanth lives up to his Superstar nickname. He is a bona fide legend whose charisma elevates Bloodstone. He effortlessly steals every scene he is in. The movie is only able to become as good as it does because of Rajinikanth. Bloodstone is an otherwise generic action film. That does not mean that it is bad, but there is little that will draw attention. There is a neat scene involving a rope bridge on fire and Rajinikanth gets some cool cliched 80s action lines, but otherwise the story is an off brand Indiana Jones.
This is especially disappointing since the movie shows flashes of something more exciting. The finale is actually a fine action scene in a movie that seems to prefer to shy away from them. There are also some decent characters. The villains are delightfully over the top and the heroes are perfectly serviceable. No one particularly stands out, but in this genre that is acceptable.
A great example is Rajinikanth himself. He is easily the highlight of the cast. Still, the script seems to hold him back. Bloodstone has plenty of sneaking around and some underwhelming fight scenes. It is clear why his fans call him Leader, but there is that constant sense of something being left out. Those who are only familiar with the actor by GIFs and YouTube videos will be left disappointed.
There is also an unfortunate performance from American actor Charlie Brill. Brill plays Inspector Ramesh, an Inspector Clouseau type addition to the cast. Including Ramesh is not a problem. He is supposed to be comic relief while also providing another person who wants the bloodstone. An argument can even be made Ramesh is much more fun that the main character.
Unfortunately, Brill decides to play the character in a way that is reminiscent of blackface. He speaks with a high pitched stereotypical Indian accent. This is complete with constant use of “sir”. Think Apu from The Simpsons without any of the subtlety. Yes, cultural awareness makes it obvious that certain jokes that were seen as funny were actually harmful. But Bloodstone was released at the end of the 80s. It is a depressing performance that should not have been allowed back then and is cringey to watch now.
Bloodstone seems to have all the ingredients for a fun 80s action movie. It has a renowned star in Rajinikanth, a couple of decent scenes, and the occasional witty dialogue. Instead of being a generic if flawed action comedy, it is becomes a tiresome slog to sit through. Superstar does the best with what he is given, but there is little else here to see.
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