When I first heard that legendary rapper, metal singer, and actor Ice-T was in a new film portraying a prohibition era vampire / speakeasy band leader I was immediately on board. If only BLOODRUNNERS had more Ice-T and less screen time for the other characters that populated the bulk of this film.
Set in 1933, BLOODRUNNERS tells the story of a corrupt cop named Jack Malone. The prohibition era has proved to be very profitable for him as he collects a "luxury tax" from every bootlegger and speakeasy in town. When a new speak-easy opens up shop, Malone gets a little more than he bargained for when he stops by to collect. Unbeknownst to him, he has stumbled upon an underground establishment run by vampires as a front to kill people, drain their blood, and ship it to other vampires all over the world!
I wish the film had focused more on vampire Ice's hi-jinks instead of following around the unlikeable Malone as he navigates his miserable life filled with harassing minorities with unnecessary racial slurs and a bizarre romantic relationship with the Madame of a brothel. BLOODRUNNERS was more GANGSTER SQUAD then it was BLACULA and frankly, that's not what I signed up for.
All that being said, there are some aspects of the film that I enjoyed. Being a fan of Ice-T's work since the 80's, I obviously enjoyed every scene that he was in. There was even a fun sequence where he transforms into 100 bats and flies away! I also though the fight scenes towards the end of the film were really well done. They should have sprinkled that type of action throughout the film to keep the excitement level higher.
Probably my favorite thing about the film is that the cigarette girl in the vampire speakeasy sounded like, and slightly resembled, Betty Boop. I would like to think that this is a tribute to one of my favorite films, WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT, which included the "real" Betty Boop as a cigarette girl in the Ink and Paint Club where Jessica Rabbit performed. It probably isn't a tribute but I'm just going to keep on pretending that it was.
James H. Carter II
BLOODRUNNERS is now available on Blu-ray/DVD and iTunes, Google Play, Comcast, and more.