Thursday, April 23, 2009

A Frank Review of True Blood (1989)

The Short Version? Saving your brother from gang violence through regular violence.
What Is It? Action/Drama.
Who Is In It? Jeff Fahey, Chad Lowe, Sherilyn Fenn, James Tolkan, Ken Foree and Billy Drago.
Should I See It? Maybe.

Writer-director Frank Kerr isn't particularly good in either creative field, based on this effort. For starters, he cast 37-year-old cheese wiz Jeff Fahey as a teenage gangbanger. Raymond Trueblood is implicated in a cop killing, but miraculously vanishes for ten years into the military without anyone batting an eye. Since he failed to keep contact with the much, much, much younger brother he abandoned at a train station(?!?) during a police chase, Fahey returns to find him also in a gang. You know, the kind of mixed-race-but-mostly-white-boyz you only see in the movies. Led by cult creep Billy Drago, the only way this gang could be less credible is if they allowed Chad Lowe in... and they did. Rob Lowe's younger and much, much, much less talented brother plays Donny Trueblood as an overly emotive greaser in the James Dean mold. Cementing this picture as taking place in some anachronistic alternate dimension, the cops pursuing both Truebloods are played by Peter from Dawn of the Dead and Mr. Strickland from Back To The Future (sometimes sporting an unconvincing mullet.) Friggin' Robert LaSardo even gets in on the action as, what else, a tatted-up Latino punk.

The thing is though, while underlit, stiffly acted, and staged like a TV show with lousy dialogue, this thing is totally watchable. As bad as some of the performances and stunts are, everyone is approaching the material with a scene chewing zeal that's worthwhile. Mix in the lovely Sherilyn Fenn (and of course, some subliminally brief nudity,) and you've got a cast of colorful characters that get over in spite of the rickety framework. I dug this out of a dollar bin, and for that price, you just may dig it too.


Debbi Anderson - Producer said...

Quite funny to read your review on True Blood. I was the Production Coordinator on this flick and you are 100% correct in your assessment. However, it was a great project to be a part of and one of my first projects in this Country. I still have not seen the final product. For more Billy Drago, James Tolkein, Ken Foree.... check out Viper, Diplomatic Immunity and Ballistic. Peter Maris Producer/Director used the trio in most of his projects. Well Done and thank you. -

Diabolu Frank said...

Thanks for the comments and info! I'm a fan of most of the actors in this flick, so I'd be happy to check out your suggestions.


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