Movie Review: In the Blood Starring Gina Carano

In the Blood Movie Review
Gina Carano and Luis Guzman star in 'In the Blood' (Photo Copyright: ITB Productions, Inc.)
Reviewed by Rebecca Murray
 
While Arnold Schwarzenegger struggles to retain a following at the box office, Mixed Martial Arts star Gina Carano is steadily building up a fan base outside of the ring and inside theaters. Carano’s latest offering is the starring role in the gritty action thriller In the Blood co-starring Cam Gigandet, Luis Guzman, Amaury Nolasco, Danny Trejo, and Stephen Lang. Directed by John Stockwell, In the Blood gives Carano an opportunity to not only demonstrate why she’s continuing to get film roles but also to show a little more emotional depth than she’s had the chance to do with her past projects.
 
In the Blood opens with a young Eva (played by Paloma Louvat) – who’s been taught not to cry, not to give into pain, and not to show any signs of weakness – watching her father being murdered. Fight faster, harder, and dirtier than whoever she encounters and go beyond whatever limits others might believe exist when attempting to outlast her enemy…this has been drummed into her head while being trained to fight by her dad (Lang), so when he is killed she doesn’t cry and instead buries the anger deep inside and uses it to fuel her fighting.
 
Fast-forward and Eva (Gina Carano) is getting married to a wealthy, good-looking guy named Derek (Gigandet) who doesn’t use his fists to get his point across. Derek’s dad (played by Treat Williams) isn’t enamored of his new daughter-in-law as he believes she’s in it for the family’s money, but as the newlyweds head off to a honeymoon in the Caribbean, it’s obvious they’re very much in love and that money has nothing to do with Eva’s attraction to Derek.


A local guy volunteers to be their unofficial tour guide, taking them to a packed bar where Eva is forced into reverting to her old ways when pushed into a ruthless bar fight. Eva, Derek, and their new friend/tour guide flee the scene but not before catching the eye of Silvio Lugo, a dangerous thug (Nolasco) who thinks he runs the island. This sets up a bizarre wide-ranging kidnapping plot that begins with a failed zip line run and ends with Eva taking on corrupt police officers and Silvio’s well-armed gang.
 
The Bottom Line:
 
In the Blood is tailor-made for Carano who’s a certified action star on the rise. In the Blood is a mix of Stockwell’s Turistas and Liam Neeson’s Taken, but with more brutal, in-your-face, gut-wrenching action that looks all the more realistic given Carano’s preference for fisticuffs rather than firearms.
 
Carano’s acting is getting more polished with each film and she’s got an onscreen presence that engages the audience even while her character is bashing in heads or torturing bad guys. There’s a gracefulness about her fight moves and a sensuality about the way the action scenes are captured on film that doesn’t disguise but instead enhances the brutality of the featured fights.
 
Stockwell and In the Blood screenwriters James Robert Johnston and Bennett Yellin let Carano down during the final act as the story culminates in a rather unsatisfying Hollywood-ish wrap-up that’s disappointing given the set-up. But the film’s well-paced and if you’re into reality-driven action scenes, it’s one of the better offerings in what’s, thus far, been a disappointing year for the genre.
 
GRADE: B
 
In the Blood opens in theaters, On Demand, and iTunes on April 4, 2014.
 

 

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