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June 2014

In The Blood

cast: Gina Carano, Cam Gigandet, Luis Guzman, Stephen Lang, and Danny Trejo

director: John Stockwell

102 minutes (18) 2014
widescreen ratio 1.85:1
Signature blu-ray region B

RATING: 7/10
review by Christopher Geary

In The Blood

John Stockwell has a somewhat off-beat career as director. He's also an actor (noted for supporting roles in John Carpenter's Christine, Tony Scott's Top Gun, and for his playing leads in colourful but cheesy sci-fi of the 1980s like Radioactive Dreams and My Science Project). Since his performances often lacked much star quality, Stockwell seems to have drifted into directing and he favours action movies ranging from comedy adventure to dramatic thriller and beyond. Paradise Lost (aka: Turistas, 2006) was a fairly compelling horror about backpackers lost in Brazilian jungle territory, Cat Run (2011) was an instantly forgettable comedy vehicle for Spanish starlet Paz Vega, while Stockwell's unimpressive TV movie Seal Team Six: The Raid On Osama Bin Laden (2012) proved a low-budget version of Kathryn Bigelow's excellent Zero Dark Thirty.

Gina Carano is a natural athlete and Thai boxing champion who came to prominence in action cinema with Steven Soderbergh's accomplished spy thriller Haywire (2011). Carano gave a phenomenal performance in that movie, with screen presence and fight skills, so her career on screen looked assured. For In The Blood, she plays a newlywed, Ava, whose husband (Cam Gigandet, sci-fi horror Pandorum, cringe-worthy musical rom-com Burlesque, vampire fantasia Priest, and Joel Schumacher's Trespass), vanishes while the couple are touring a Caribbean island. After an accident in the jungle, Ava's failure to find her lost man turns into the proverbial honeymoon in hell. The local cop (Luis Guzman, Tony Scott's remake of The Taking Of Pelham 1 2 3) is unsympathetic to American tourists, and Ava discovers a conspiracy centred on gang leaders. While tracking down the bad guys, she strays into a dangerous barrio but, unluckily for the Island's crooks, the formidable Ava is not afraid to get her hands bloody.

Although the movie's plot is a quite routine example of kidnap and revenge, Carano's statuesque charisma combines with many impressive action sequences to enliven and elevate this otherwise standard thriller with many extraordinarily hard-hitting fight scenes. The production is tough and gritty, not slick and polished, so it boasts an authenticity lacking in most Hollywood thrillers. It features the sort of rough justice that the early Steven Seagal movies used to showcase. Like Seagal, Carano is at her very best in this movie's scary confrontations with apparently overwhelming odds. Carano shows that she is a lot more than just a 21st century Cynthia Rothrock, and her acting abilities are far superior to those of stunts expert Zoe Bell (Angel Of Death, Baytown Outlaws), who is, perhaps, Carano's nearest rival in today's action movies. It might seem unlikely for Carano to be cast as Wonder Woman in a DC Comics franchise movie, but she would be the perfect candidate to play one of the other Amazonian warrior girls on Paradise Island.



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