Whenever you travel abroad it is important to have that 'what if' scenario in the back of our brains because the world can be a scary place, that is unless you have someone totally bad ass looking out for you. "In The Blood" is a low budget action shoot in the vein of "Taken", and while it has moments of looking a little cheap, it's got a surprisingly solid cast and a strong yet simple narrative that holds up pretty darn well.
The newly married Ava and Derek (Gina Carano and Cam Gigandet) set off on their Caribbean honeymoon to start their new life together and put the troubles of their past behind them. However when Derek goes missing, a frantic Ava begins looking for him only to have the eyes of the family and the law looking directly at her for the disappearance. She quickly learns that her husband's only hope is herself as she takes matters into her own hands to find the man that she loves and clear her name.
It's by no means high art, and takes one too many things on faith, but "In The Blood" manages to be a decent little action thriller and a good vehicle for Carano as she looks to stretch her acting muscles.
Director John Stockwell who has transitioned from acting (he was Cougar in 1986's "Top Gun") to directing has developed into a steady but all be it unspectacular directing hand who get a story from point A to point B without too much fuss. Giving the proceedings a little bit more of a low budget feel gave the shoot some positive and negative elements to work with, but the dark streets and dimly lit streets in this shift Caribbean island successfully created some tension to work with and made it all feel very present and in the moment. The script from the writing team of James Robert Johnson and Bennett Yellin, leaves a few things to be desired as both men have more of a comedy and horror background, but it gets the basic frame work right making it easier over look any mediocre dialogue or logic jumps.
In her first non-Soderbergh leading role, Gina Carano puts in some good work and is developing her skills as an actress. She puts us in the moment, balancing her stunning beauty with her no nonsense bad attitude to try and get the answers she needs in protecting her family. She'd be the first to admit that she is still a girl, but hardly one to be trifled with either. It's sexuality rolled up into some classic action movie swagger and she does it well.
As Carano actually ends up carrying the bulk of the film, it's a little odd how somewhat loaded this ensemble cast. Cam Gigandet, Danny Trejo, Luis Guzman, Stephen Lang, Amaury Nolasco and Treat Williams are all fine in their respective roles, but it would have been nice if their characters had been fleshed out a little more than they were to make feel a little less like stunt casting and more like building an ensemble that was trying to tell a fully fleshed out story.
At the end of the day, "In The Blood" is meant as an action vehicle for Carano and from that standpoint it works pretty darn well as she certainly has the looks and the combat skills to make it as an action star while her performance here actually takes her on that next step towards developing as a genuine actress as well.
3 out of 5 stars.
"In The Blood" is open at theatres across the country this Friday, please check with your local listings for show times.