The brains behind 'Bound By Blood' at the film's Lawrence Central High School premiere: co-directors Randy Bettelon and Stephen Reedy, actress Michelle Staresnick, producer/stars Chris Cones and Sean Eichenberg, actor Grandmaster Young P. Choi and martial arts coordinator Eric Jacobus.
A strength of locally-produced Indianapolis film is turning out to be taking old genre themes and amping them up to the Nth degree. One of the best local films of recent years, Fake ID, did that with the teen-shenanigans genre. Bound By Blood, which premiered last week, treads a similar path by combining cop-on-the-edge with martial arts revenge flicks.
The film stars Chris Cones as tough-guy kickboxer Trevor and Sean Eichenberg as Johnny, his brother-in-law cop, both out to even the score when drug dealers go after their family.
The two central genres mix so well that I'm surprised it's not done more often (though we see plenty of it in Hong Kong cinema). You get both the scene where the rebel guy screams, "We do this MY way or no way!" PLUS the classic moment where the cop on the edge gets yelled at by his captain and has to turn in his badge and gun. Everything you need for Grade A+ genre goodness. They even name-drop Billy Jack while they're at it. It doesn't hurt that the leads radiate charisma, with Eichenberg's quiet intensity and Cones' Vin Diesel tough-guy act driving the show. The martial arts choreography is a real standout, as you can feel the bonecrushing intensity of every move.
Cones and Eichenberg, who also produced, are the guys behind Impact Productions, and they never seem to sleep. Bound By Blood was shot on 35 locations in just 19 days, and their next film, a horror flick called Rage, is in the can for a March release.
Cones says he turned down offers to make this film with a much bigger budget in the mainstream, but turned them down because they wouldn't let him work in Indianapolis. "We had a lot of people hooked up in the mainstream laughing at us," Eichenberg said. "They didn't think the community would back us. They didn't think people would come out."
"Now they can't stop e-mailing us asking for distribution rights," Cones said. "We made this for less than 5 percent of what it costs out there, and it's because the community supports us."
Bound By Blood begins a one-week run Friday, Jan. 20 at Canary Creek Cinemas in Franklin, and will be available on DVD later this year. Check out www.boundbybloodmovie.com for show times and more information.