Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Forgotten Jason Priestley!?!? Coldblooded

Coldblooded (1995)

Wait, wait. Just read this. Yes, I'm doing a post about a movie starring Jason Priestley of Beverly Hills 90210 fame but just stick with me because Coldblooded is a stone cold classic of a movie which shamefully has never been released on DVD. In fact, I only stumbled across it one night on TV and had to wait another 5 years to catch it again and record it.

Okay, I know it's hard to talk about a Jason Priestley film but let's try referring it as a Wally Wolodarsky film. Who's he you say? Well, he was one of the early staff writers on The Simpsons responsible for such classic episodes as 'Krusty Gets Busted' and 'Bart the Daredevil'. Coldblooded was his directorial debut and sadly, despite being executively produced by Michael J Fox, it just got buried and sent straight to video but it really deserved way better.

Jason Priestley plays Cosmo Reif, a bookish accountant for a bunch of mobsters. When the their favourite hitman gets iced Cosmo is given the opportunity to step into the role and is taught the ropes by seasoned veteran Steve played by Peter Riegart. As it turns out Cosmo has a natural gift for shooting and killing people and his life starts to blossom, eventually falling in love with a yoga instructor. But how is he ever going to resolve his double life as a loving boyfriend and a mafia assasin?

Honestly this is a great, great little indie and way more humourous than the synopsis makes out. Priestley plays the role of Cosmo brilliantly, at times almost make him seem a little autistic. Essentially, nothing fazes him and nothing seems to excite him. He takes to the part of being a hitman and killing people with a cold dispassionate point of view. And there in lies the humour, being a hitman isn't as exciting as it sounds. Peter Riegart is also great as his mentor. He's not an actor who I've seen in a lot stuff (other than Animal House) but he's great at deadpan humour and fits this film to a T. Michael J Fox also pops up for a great little cameo about halfway through as well.

There were a lot of offbeat crime films that came out in the mid-nineties in the wake of Pulp Fiction. Everyone and their grandma seemed to be trying to emulate that film's colourful style and hip dialogue to various degrees of success (see Things to Do in Denver, Two Days in the Valley, The Boondock Saints). Coldblooded definitely has the same elements - talking hitmen and casual disregard for violence - but feels very different from Tarantino and his knock-offs and it's a shame it got lost in the shuffle. The film has a lighter, breezy touch that's obviously come from Wolodarsky's work on The Simpsons. Based on the subject matter it could have easily been done much more seriously as say American Psycho but Wolodarsky (who also scripted) plays it much more like a light black comedy.

I don't know where you'll be able to find this. I don't think it really got a retail release, so you're only options are to catch it on Netflix streaming, on cable TV or ex-rental video. Happy hunting!


  1. We have a german DVD, but its missing the english audio. What a shame this doesnt exist on DVD in english...a really great crime comedy...and probably the only thing with Priestley worth watching.

  2. That's crazy there's a German DVD but not an English one?

    You're right, it is probably the best thing Priestley's done. I'm completely written him off as an actor until seeing this.

  3. Old blooded is a brilliant little film, was looking to see if it had been released yet when I saw this article. What a fantastic read.