Blue Blood

Blue Blood

Blue Blood is a documentary about the Oxford boxing team, preparing for its annual match against Cambridge. It focuses primarily on about half a dozen of the people among those competing for the nine spots on the team.

It’s all white guys, and a fair number of them don’t seem the type to have grown up playing a lot of sports. There are some nerd-types challenging themselves by trying out for the team.

It’s not controversial or deep or particularly clever. It’s straightforward, celebratory of its subjects, like an “authorized biography.”

I had just enough boxing experience in my youth to have a vague sense of what it’s like to be in the ring (nothing at all like how it looks from the outside). This movie took me back a bit to that time of my life. It kind of made me wish I had pursued boxing more, or been better at it to justify pursuing it more.

In its way it’s the purest of sports. It held a certain fascination for me from a young age.

In a broader sense, I admired the guys in this movie for being so devoted to trying to do their best. I’ve always wanted to feel like I was dedicated to something like that. Not necessarily boxing, or sports, but something that would really challenge me that way, and inspire me to put my total focus on it to be the best I could be.

All that being said, I really didn’t get into Blue Blood very much. I found it fairly dull most of the way.

At least one review of the film—highlighted on the movie poster that displays as the online visual on sites like IMDB—describes it as “hilarious.” I don’t get that. I don’t see it as a comedy at all.

My only thought is maybe it’s a reference to the non-jocks trying out for the team and thinking they can box. If so, I think that’s insulting. They’re trying their best, and some of them aren’t bad at all. I dare say 99% of the people who would laugh at them have never had the balls to step into the ring themselves. I have nothing but respect for them.

I liked and rooted for all these guys. With the exception of the American from the Air Force—Mr. Perfect Christian Fundamentalist who aces all his classes, is fawned over by all the girls, has his whole future mapped out to inevitable success in all areas of life, and is pretty arrogant about it all. I was hoping somebody would knock his block off.

Like I say, in spite of having a decent level of interest in the subject matter, I wasn’t all that drawn in by this film. It picks up, though, the closer it gets to the actual competition against Cambridge.

Unfortunately then the climax of the story is handled atrociously. Instead of just showing the bouts against Cambridge in a straightforward, understandable way, it becomes some kind of artsy music video.

That cheapens and disrespects the competition and what these people went through to get there. It totally misses the fact that the brute power of the visuals is in their very simplicity and purity. You don’t need to jazz it up with all these surreal touches, unless you don’t understand what you’ve got.

It’s the kind of thing a chick who doesn’t get sports, and perhaps even has a disdain for it, would do with such footage. Highly disappointing.

I didn’t even like the artsy altered video during the credits. It just comes across as silly and pointless.

I’m going to give Blue Blood a thumbs down. Not by a big margin; there are certainly things to like about it. But especially because it blows it by trying to get too fancy with what should have been its high point, I can’t recommend it.

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