"I'm in this thing for the full ride!"
For some reason, I predictability in movies for me can vary how I enjoy it. For instance, I pretty much knew how Scream 4 was going to turn out and didn't even both watching it until I wrote my recent article on that series.
This movie, though, I have been able to enjoy even though I figured out the mystery of the story at least half an hour before the protagonists did.
As an actor, nobody can do the 'loner who has been through a lot' persona the way Clint can, which is why he's as fun to watch as ever here. He plays FBI man Terry McCaleb, who is tracking down a serial killer when, following a foot chase through an alley, he suffers a heart attack before managing to shoot the killer (whose face is hidden at this point) in the back.
A while later, McCaleb, who lives on his boat, is undergoing routine heart surgery, as his attack required a heart transplant. He is soon contacted by Graciella Rivers (Wanda De Jesus). She asks him to find the person who killed her sister and McCaleb agrees after Graciella informs him that the heart he now has belonged to her sister.
With the help of his colleague/former flame Jaye Winston (Tina Lifford) and the reluctant assistnace of detectives Ronaldo Arrango (Paul Rodriguez) and John Waller (Dylan Walsh), McCaleb views footage of where the killer struck previously and interviews relatives of the previous victims.
Not surprisingly, this begins to tax his heart condition further, to the chagrin of his stern by well-meaning doctor Bonnie Fox (Anjelica Huston). However, even she agrees to assist McCaleb by helping him discover that the past victims were organ/blood donors and that the killer specifically targeted them because they had the same blood type as McCaleb, who was in need of a new heart that Graciella's sister ended up supplying him with.
Even when possible suspect Mikhail Bolotov (Igor Jijikine) is found dead with possessions of the victims on him, McCaleb isn't convinced.
Eventually, he realizes that his all-too-helpful neighbor Buddy Noone (Jeff Daniels) is the killer. I pretty much guessed that halfway through because Buddy seems all-to-eager to please once McCaleb asks him for transportation to various locations. Of course, at the same time, this revelation is reached, Buddy has kidnapped Graciella and her nephew. But, McCaleb forces him to take him to them even as Buddy taunts him about how McCaleb should be grateful that he basically saved his life, by killing other people.
The climatic confrontation can pretty much be guessed about by anyone who has seen past Eastwood thrillers. Fortunately, the cast makes up for the story's predictability by being fun to watch. Even the romance which develops between McCaleb and Graciella is fine because it is not set up the way movie romances are in so many other films.
No, Blood Work is not as sharp as, say, Play Misty for Me (1971), Dirty Harry (1971), Tightrope (1984) and In the Line of Fire (1993). But, I'm inclined to say it's as enjoyable to watch as those gems.