'In the Blood': Bride kicks it into high when husband disappears
In 2011's Haywire, director Steven Soderbergh tried turning Gina Carano, a mixed martial arts champion with a strong chin and an even stronger clinch hold, into a movie star. Things didn't work out exactly as planned. The film bombed.
But Carano displayed some screen charisma - an ability to burn with intensity, kickbox with ferocity, and deliver her lines with, er, efficiency. In the graphically violent In the Blood, the no-nonsense Carano gets the kind of role typically allocated to a Jason Statham or (if the budget is bigger) a Liam Neeson: She's thrown into a bad situation and starts slashing, bashing, and shooting her way through a swarm of thugs, mugs, crooked cops, and psychos.
And she thought she was just going on her honeymoon.
Carano plays Ava, a tough cookie who met her new husband, Derek (Cam Gigandet), through Narcotics Anonymous (they both have some history). The couple are on a small Caribbean isle, montage-ing their way through a sexy matrimonial getaway, but on a zip-line excursion, Derek plummets from the aerial cable into a ravine, breaking his leg and who knows what else. An ambulance rushes him to the ER, and Ava follows. But she loses the ambulance, and when she gets to the hospital, her husband isn't there, or in any other medical center.
Disappeared. And the local cops, headed by a sinisterly indifferent Luis Guzmán, are of no help. So matters must be taken into her own hands - and fists, and feet. Through cockfight arenas, thumping discos, and menacing barrios Ava goes, butting heads and busting bones.
Directed by John Stockwell with an eye for the scenery - verdant forests, blinding beaches, colorful slums - In the Blood is generic B-movie fare, bloody and, alas, increasingly dumb. The final sequence of careening chases and blazing firefights makes no sense. Ava has already proven herself an unapologetically deadly opponent, so why does she let her smug nemesis (Amaury Nolasco) hang around and wreak more havoc, when she had the chance to kill him a half-hour before?
Maybe to allow time for wizened heavy Danny Trejo to show up and make an impassioned speech about saving the local tourism biz?
In the Blood ** (Out of four stars)
Directed by John Stockwell. With Gina Carano, Cam Gigandet, Luis Guzmán, Danny Trejo. Distributed by Anchor Bay Films.
Running time: 1 hour, 47 mins.
Parent's guide: R (violence, intense action, profanity, adult themes)
Playing at: Frank Theaters Montgomeryville and VOD