"Lose not the Queen, for ten to one... if she be lost, the game is
gone." "Wicked Blood" is a standard mafia movie, but then on a smaller
scale. The story of the teenage girl Hannah (Abigail Breslin) who's
being taken care of, after the loss of her parents, by her uncle Donny
(Lew Temple), which has the appearance of Dr. Emmett Brown from "Back
to the Future" but with too much "hillbilly crack" in his system. And
then there's also Uncle Frank (Sean Bean). Frank is the local bad guy
and head of a mini gang of mobsters. Besides running a striptease tent
he has also a lucrative business as manufacturer and supplier of crack.
The one who assists him throughout the film is his somewhat crazy,
retarded younger brother Bobby (Jake Busey),. Apparently Bobby became
slower after Hannah's mother bashed his head with a baseball bat.
Hannah is a passionate chess player (something she probably inherited from Donny who once was State Champion), and she applies the rules of this game in her daily life. Thoughtful and with reason she performs every next move. Eventually, she devises a sophisticated plan to escape from this violent, drug-related world. Throw in an undercover agent, an assault on Hannah's sister and the final revenge, and you have a complete picture of this standard crime film. A film with a story like there are already a thousand made of.
And yet it's not an unpleasant film. And that's thanks to Abigail Breslin who manages to give shape to the character Hannah in a natural and wonderful way. She reminded me of Saoirse Ronan repeatedly. She also has that innocent look, that determination and the all-pervading calmness. Maybe Ronan outclasses her a bit but only with a small lead. Despite the fact that the whole story is a bit exaggerated, improbable at times and thinking about it after wards sometimes pretty laughable, the acting of Abigail Breslin was very convincing and plausible. A small, young girl only skilled in chess who goes to battle against a bunch of ruthless drug gangsters, who are not shy to liquidate someone who complains to much, is something that only could happen to Nancy Drew.
The one I enjoyed the most, was Lew Temple as the crazy, drug addicted low-life Donny. The chess games with Hannah briefly hinted a different picture of him though. That of a reasonably intelligent man who, because of past events and the current situation he is experiencing, recreated the individual as we see it now. The moments when he takes a shot (probably to check the quality) and starts to thrash about, accompanied by loud rock music, I found grandiose.
Sean Bean (Who I've recently saw in CleanSkin) looks like Boromir teleported into modern times. The same faraway look and stoic calmness he constantly shows. I expected him declaring a sentence like "One does not simply ... steal my drugs" any moment.
Despite the mediocre storyline and some irritating (The city where it all takes place is apparently so deserted and desolate as a ghost town along Route 66. Totally no inhabitants to detect) and hilarious (The FBI infiltrating such a crappy,small gang.) moments, it's still a movie you continue to watch. And that is merely due to the solid commitment of the actors and actresses.
More reviews at http://opinion-as-a-moviefreak.blogspot.be/
Hannah Lee Baker is a bright teen girl trapped in the dark Southern underworld of violence and guns, meth labs and vicious biker gangs, and whose only refuge is chess. She lives with Amber, her older sister; and her uncle Donny, an addict. All live in fear of Uncle Frank Stinson, who runs the illegal family business with an iron fist, aided by his psychotic younger brother Bobby. Things change for the worse when Amber falls in love with Wild Bill, a meth trafficker who finds himself at war with Frank. Hannah realizes the only way to save her family is by cleverly scheming to pit one pawn against another in a cunning chess game.
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