His craggy, Carmel-ized flesh may be certified rawhide by now, and Wilford Brimley could probably take him in the 50-yard dash, but understand this, Vin Diesels of the world: 72-year-old Clint Eastwood still looks mighty convincing beating the shit outta the bad guys. Indeed, in these heightened days of good vs. evil, there’s something strangely comforting in watching that big ol’ sequoia of an ass-kicker unholster his cannon-sized pals Smith & Wesson and start shooting first—never mind the questions or, in this latest instance, a goddamn heart attack. But Eastwood, both before and behind the camera, is a guy who knows his limitations, and Oscar-winning screenwriter Brian (L.A. Confidential) Helgeland’s sly adaptation of Michael Connelly’s best-selling thriller Blood Work is age-appropriate material. Terry McCaleb is mere months removed from a heart transplant, and with some serious chest pains and labored breathing, he’s pulling tubes out of his saggy girth and trying to track down the young, spry psycho who murdered the donor of his precious ticker. Eastwood as a storyteller has never been one for quick cuts, fancy FX, glossy lighting, or any of the other kinds of visual tricks XXX uses to woo the vid-crazed kiddies. Instead, the cinematic warhorse here concocts a procedural-intensive whodunit, the kind of old-school actioner (think Bullitt) in which actors are allowed to act—blotches, blemishes, and all. Of course, it helps that the enlisted talent knows what it’s doing: When Eastwood isn’t bickering with tough-as-nails doc Angelica Huston, he’s enlisting boat bum Jeff Daniels to help him on the case. Paul Rodriguez and Dylan Walsh are here, too, badging up as a couple of bumbling cops who wish McCaleb would just take a fistful of Geritol and go to bed. And curves-aplenty Wanda De Jesus, playing the sexy sister of the ill-fated heart donor, should be commended for looking convincingly rapturous while being boinked by a scarred, shirtless Eastwood. If Blood Work’s methodical unveiling of clues and obvious big twist leaves viewers clamoring for more gunplay and less chatter, the grand-finale payoff should sate their bang-bang thirst. After a bullets-flyin’ cat-and-mouse chase through the halls of a sinking barge, a near-dead McCaleb finds himself towering over the villain. With a big, shiny gun dead-aiming between his beady, black eyes, the killer begs for mercy. Stupid punk: Everybody knows that in an Eastwood angry-cop flick, mercy is for pussies. —Sean Daly