Peter Rajesh Joachim, a graduate of Sheridan College’s advanced television and film program, makes his feature-length directorial debut with the shoestring crime drama Blood Empires. It’s adequate and exactly what you would expect from a new filmmaker tackling a genre that’s known for obvious clichés, but thankfully Joachim is aware enough to somewhat withhold his cast from sleepwalking through tiresome territory.
Blood Empires is filled with your usual assembly of shady characters that are constantly plotting, posing, and slaying when they’re not swearing up a storm – Daniel (Stevie Jay) is one of these violent hotheads. His perspective is changed when he meets officer Elena Kayaka (Antisocial 2’s Kassandra Santos), someone with authoritative stature but also shares a bond of broken family with Daniel. Blood Empires really shines when Jay and Santos are sharing the screen together. This otherwise formulaic flick embraces a hidden sensitivity that breaks up the high level of machismo displayed by the cookie-cutter crooks and overdramatic male cops.
Peter Rajesh Joachim wore other hats on this production, including writing the script and editing the film. There’s apparent evidence that the filmmaker is still crafting cohesive transitions (overlapping scenes could be tighter), but his semi-apt storytelling – along with an ending that’ll stun you – acts as effective proving ground for Joachim.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie