Eastwood is back as a milder Dirty Harry

Today as always, Hollywood culture is fascinated by youth – which poses a challenge for older stars like Clint Eastwood, who are steadily on the lookout for ways of keeping their aging images fresh.

Eastwood comes up with an unusual angle in "Blood Work," his new thriller.

He plays Terry McCaleb, an FBI agent who loses an important suspect when McCaleb's heart gives out during a chase.

Cut to two years later, when Terry is living a relaxed, retired life with the help of a newly transplanted ticker.

Then a stranger shows up with an unexpected request: Her sister was the organ donor who provided his heart, and she wants him to track down the man who murdered her.

Terry gets on the case, which eventually ties into the serial-killer hunt that had overtaxed him earlier.

Eastwood gives Terry the same physically taut, emotionally walled-up personality that has typified most of his characters over the years.

Terry is a sort of geriatric Dirty Harry, which will please Eastwood's loyal fans – and suits the story, wherein our hero must ride roughshod over incompetent cops to get his man. (He still gets the girl, too.)

As director of the movie, Eastwood takes a conservative approach, with few of the imaginative touches that have made some of his films – "Bird," "The Eiger Sanction" – so memorable.

The well-chosen supporting cast includes Jeff Daniels as Terry's sidekick and Anjelica Huston as his doctor. Brian Helgeland wrote the serviceable screenplay.

• Rated R; contains violence.

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