Starring: Vinnie Stigma and Marvin W. Schwartz
Director: Nick Oddo
Rating: Five of Ten Stars
New York gangster Vinny (Stigma) tries to help his psychotic father (Schwartz) when he is released from prison for murder. Instead, the old man's blood-thirsty, violent ways ends up destroying Vinny's little kingdom of prostitution and drug dealing.
"New York Blood" is an ultra-low budget movie with the running-time and pacing of an hour-long television drama. Writer/director Nick Oddo created a movie that has some of the typical flaws seen in films at this production level, but for the most part it's superior to most other films you'll come across that were made for $4,000. It's also a decent gangster movie that's populated with characters that come across as real.
The biggest budget-related production flaws that "New York Blood" displays--here it's mostly bad sound, as it seems either the microphone on the camera itself was used, or a single mic on one actor in each scene was used to pick up the dialogue from all actors and no (if any) post-production looping took place. Otherwise, the film is well-lit, well-staged, and well-paced, with not a single scrap of padding anywhere to be found. The only other annoying flaw--and this may be nitpicking--was the strangely loose bandage on the face of a girl who had supposedly been cut up by a psychopath. Could whoever was doubling as propmaster and/or costumer not have applied a little extra glue to the surgical tape so it would stick to the girl's make-up? Even a dab of Elmer's Glue would have been better than the distracting, flapping tape in the scene.
The acting here is also better than what is usually found in films at this level, or, rather, Oddo managed to hide the short-comings of his cast of mostly first-time and one-time movie actors. First, none of the weaker actors are called upon to carry any significant scenes--Oddo was very wise in casting and editing choices. Second, the film has the feel of a documentary and/or a "reality show" to the point where Vinny addresses the camera with comments about what he is doing--so it works that a few characters feel a little stiff. Unfortunately, Oddo doesn't keep this documentary tone consistently through the picture, choosing to break from it by showing Lorenzo committing his gory murders. While I understand why Oddo wanted to get some violence into his flick, the way he did it undermines the best aspect of the film.
Still, there are filmmakers who spend ten times what Oddo spent on his movie that don't make them this good. If you like gangster movies, I think you would do well to check it out.