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Blood and Steel (1959)

Studio: 20th Century Fox Cinema Archives

Theatrical Release: December 1959

DVD Release: June 3, 2014

Director: Bernard L. Kowalski

Not Rated

Review by James Klein

This low budget WWII film has rarely been seen by most for quite some time now. Popping up occasionally on TCM, Blood and Steel finally makes its way on DVD thanks to the Cinema Archives collection. And don't let the low budget scare you off, Blood and Steel, while not the most engrossing or realistic war film ever made, still has plenty of action to please fans of the genre.

Blood and Steel

Four U.S. Army Seabees infiltrate an island run by the Japanese. Their mission is to determine if an airfield can be built on the island and report back to the Army. As the soldiers quickly make their way on the island, they immediately are attacked by the Japanese. One of the soldiers named George (played by James Edwards, who does his best to give a decent performance given the weak script) is shot in the legs and is left for dead by his platoon as they have to retreat before they turn to hamburger. I had a problem with this moment as I don't buy for a single second that a group of men would leave their fellow soldier behind, no matter what.

Blood & Steel

As the other men go from battle to battle in what seems like one action set piece after another, George comes in contact with a native girl (Ziva Rodann from Pharaoh's Curse) who is now a slave to the Japanese. She helps the wounded soldier in making it past the enemy but not before setting up an ambush on a village run by the Japanese, lead by a very young James Hong (best known for playing Lo Pan in Big Trouble in Little China and also Snotty, Booger's master in Revenge of the Nerds II).

James Hong

While Blood and Steel may be entertaining and fun to watch, check your brain at the door. The acting, directing and especially the writing are all sub-par. The ending is rather dark and abrupt, which normally I wouldn't mind but in this film, it just didn't fit. It was almost as if the writers had no idea what else to do once they came to their conclusion. Being a sucker for war films, I admit I was still entertained and surprised at how violent the movie is. Clocking in at just 63 minutes, Blood and Steel soars by and one wonders if maybe this wasn't a pilot episode of some failed TV series.

Blood and Steel WWII

Cinema Archives has released Blood and Steel in its original 2:35:1 aspect ratio, which is a step up from some of their past releases that were only released pan and scan. However, the movie is presented in a window box format which can be aggravating to sit through. The picture also looks a bit soft at times, especially during action scenes. The sound is rather quiet as I had to turn up the volume a few times just to hear dialog, although I think that's because of Blood and Steel's low budget rather than the transfer. There are no special features, not even chapter stops.

Cinema Archives

Blood and Steel may be worth a look to past the time. It's not awful but its hindered by the cheap sets, bland direction and a poor script. Thankfully though, the movie is rather entertaining which could provide a fun 63 minutes for any viewer.

Movie [Rating: 3]

DVD [Rating: 2.5]

 

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