(a film review by Mark R. Leeper)

CAPSULE: BREAKING BAD made the world of methamphetamine dealing seem strange and fantastic. That is nothing compared to what BLOOD PUNCH does with it. This is a crime, drug, dark-comedy, romance, horror, and science fiction thriller. There are far too few of those around. A failed chemical engineer is given an opportunity to make himself very rich for one day of cooking meth. That day proves to be the longest day of his life, one full of weird twists of reality. This is really a cool little film with more new ideas packed into its compact 104 minutes than any other film I've seen this summer. Rating: high +2 (-4 to +4) or 8/10

If you thought BREAKING BAD made the world of meth cooking look strange, you ain't seen nothing until you have seen BLOOD PUNCH. The film starts with Milton seeing an impossible video in which he maims himself. But Milton seems to be perfectly whole. Something strange is going on, but Milton does not know how strange. Then we see Milton's recent past in a flashback.

Milton (played by Milo Cawthorne) is almost a chemical engineer by training but was caught running a methamphetamine lab just before his expected graduation. Sentenced by the court to a rehabilitation center, he figures his days of cooking meth are over. But then he is recruited by an attractive inmate, Skyler (New-Zealander Olivia Tennet), who smokes like a chimney, has a penchant for wild sex, and who seems to know all about him. Skyler wants him to show off his meth cooking skills on one night. Then she wants to sell the meth and make Milton, her, and her boy friend Russell (Ari Boyland) all extremely wealthy. Off they go to a backwoods cabin to make them fabulously rich making meth. Milton finds that just as Skyler told him, Russell is the devil. Russell likes recklessly playing games that are dangerous to his and other people's health and sanity. We have to wonder what hold does Russell have over Skyler. To humor Russell, Skyler repeats everything that Russell like the ultimate yes-man and she warns Milton that Russell is crazy enough to kill anyone. But then the next day things get more complicated.

The script by Eddie Guzelian and directed Madellaine Paxson does some very weird things with our intrepid three think of as reality. We spends a good deal of the first half of this film just trying to figure out what is going on. When we finally work it out, we still don't completely understand the explanation. While the story was likely inspired at least a big by BREAKING BAD, it borrows more from a certain fantasy film (that shall remain nameless).

BLOOD PUNCH is funny and imaginative. There is some bloodshed and violence, but it is mostly done in a humorous context. For now there are not too many films like it. Made on a small budget it is one of the more refreshing films of the year. I rate BLOOD PUNCH a high +2 on the -4 to +4 scale or 8/10. BLOOD PUNCH opens August 28th at the Arena Cinema in Hollywood.

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					Mark R. Leeper
					Copyright 2015 Mark R. Leeper