What happens when Bollywood and Hollywood come together to indulge in their respective penchant for the action genre? Bloodstone, that’s what. This hammy romp follows an American couple honeymooning in India as they become embroiled in the search for a priceless stolen ruby (the titular Bloodstone). Tonally placed somewhere between a James Bond film and the French spoof series OSS 117 which lampoons that same genre, the film is a chaotic, over the top thrill fest that oozes cheese and charm in almost equal measure.
We open on 12th century, where the spilt blood of a beautiful young princess is used to imbue a sacred gemstone with supernatural powers. 600 years on, the British have purloined the artefact, while in the present day, eccentric thief Paul Lorre (Jack Kehler) has smuggled it back into its homeland. En route to meet up with even more eccentric fence Ludwig van Hoeven (Christopher Neame), Lorre bumps into Sandy (Brett Stimley) and Stephanie McVey (Anna Nicholas), newlyweds who are mixing business with pleasure. Lorre uses Stephanie to smuggle the ruby past the incompetent police, led by (perhaps the most eccentric) Inspector Ramesh (Charlie Brill), before opportunistic (and, you guessed it, eccentric) taxi driver Sabu (Rajinikanth) is roped into (or rather, ropes himself into) the story when he gives the Americans a lift to their hotel and the gem slips out of their bag into his car boot.
All of that commotion takes place in the first 15 minutes or so and things don’t let up from there. It’s not long at all before the punches begin to fly, as Sandy emerges from his hotel bathroom (after having just pleasured his wife in their Jacuzzi) to find two burly men waiting for him. After dispatching them with some laughably choreographed moves which Mac from It’s Always Sunny would be proud of, Sandy doesn’t bother to try and figure out where the henchmen came from or what they were after, but simply summons Room Service to deal with them. At the same time, Sabu notices a car on his tail after dropping off the McVeys, so quickly performs some evasive action that escalates abruptly into a vehicular flame ball. Again, Sabu doesn’t concern himself with questioning why he was being followed, but strikes back with admirable ’80s chutzpah.
That’s a good word for the whole shebang: Bloodstone has more chutzpah than it knows what to do with. The story line is silly, the acting the very definition of hammy, the fight scenes sprinkled liberally throughout and the costume and soundtrack ostentatious in the extreme. If you’re looking for a narrative that’ll hold any water or at all or a film to exhibit strong writing, direction or onscreen performances, it’s advisable to give Bloodstone a miss. But if you’re in the mood for a popcorn-muncher that prioritises fun above plausibility, it’s a swashbuckling way to spend an hour and a half trading the grindstone for the Bloodstone.
Available on Blu-ray from Mon 20 Jul 2020