Mania Grade: C-
8 Comments | Add
Rate & Share:
- Rated: R
- Starring: Gina Carano, Can Gigandet, Danny Trejo, Treat Williams, Luis Guzman
- Written By: James Robert Johnston, Bennett Yellin
- Directed By: John Stockwell
- Distributor: Anchor Bay Home Entertainment
- Original Year of Release: 2014
- Special Features: See Below
In the Blood: Blu-ray Review
Carano can’t punch her way out of this…
By Tim Janson
June 27, 2014
In the Blood
© Anchor Bay Home Entertainment 2014
Let me just say right off the bat that Gina Carano, not Gal Gadot should be playing Wonder Woman in the Batman/Superman film. She has the beauty, the physique, and action chops. With that out of the way let’s turn to “In the Blood” which is Carano’s second lead feature after 2011’s surprisingly good “Haywire.” Unfortunately things don’t go quite as well in this film but that can be attributed to a dull script from James Robert Johnston and Bennett Yellin.
Carano plays Ava, a recovering drug user who marries wealthy Derek Grant (Gigandet), a fellow former substance abuser. The pair head for a Honeymoon in the Caribbean to a tiny remote island which can only mean trouble. They have a run-in with some local thugs at a night club including the ubiquitous Danny Trejo as “Big Biz.” Ava has to rescue her husband, surprising him with her fighting ability as she mops the floor with the tough guys. Now, the average guy might wonder where his wife acquired her butt-kicking skills but Derek blows it off as if he happened to discover a tattoo that he’d never seen before. The only explanation we get for her skills are a few flashbacks to her as a young woman training with her father in a homemade dojo. I love Danny Trejo and he’s much better as a villain than a hero but after his scene in the nightclub he promptly disappears until the last 10 minutes of the film and thus is all but wasted.
The following day Derek is hurt in a zipline accident and taken to a local hospital. When Ava reaches the hospital the nurse at the front desk claims that her husband never arrived there. Ava desperately searches for her missing husband, getting no help from the local police chief (Luis Guzman). In fact Ava soon comes under suspicion from the police and Derek’s family as having been involved in his disappearance. Ava eventually finds her husband’s kidnappers and their reason for abducting him is one of the most inane plot devices I have encountered in a long time. The poor attempt at building a backstory is completely bungled. We’re shown brief flashbacks of a troubled you and her father murdered but nothing ever comes of it.
In the Blood is at its best when Carano is allowed to do her thing and kick ass, and she does it extremely well. As a mixed martial artist her fights in the film are more brutal and look less choreographed than other female action stars. The first 20 minutes and the last 20 minutes are the reasons to watch the film. The problem is the hour in-between. Director John Stockwell, who helmed the awful “Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama Bin Laden” gives Carano little to do in the middle. She travels from point to point as if it’s a videogame and she’s trying to collect all of the pickups even if she doesn’t need them. Carano’s lack of emotional range makes some of these dramatic scenes almost painful to watch, especially when Derek’s father (Treat Williams) accusers her of being responsible for his son’s disappearance and she can muster little more than a mumble as she sulks away. This isn’t a knock on Carino as much as it is Stockwell and the writers who put her in a no-win situation.
In the Blood: Behind-the-Scenes (19:00) – Standard behind the scenes featurette with cast and director interviews.