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Directed by John Stockwell
Available on DVD and Blu-ray from Amazon

Whilst honeymooning on a small tropical Caribbean island, Ava’s husband Derek is kidnapped. With the local police and her in-laws suspecting she has killed him herself to get her hands on his wealth, Ava must investigate herself if she is to find her husband alive.

Directed by John Stockwell, IN THE BLOOD is a female-led action thriller that keeps the viewer on their toes as they follow the character of Ava, who’s the only person who can save her husband after everyone around her fails to help. The film starts off rather simply, as Ava and Derek are prepared to get married, with Derek’s sister full of best wishes for Ava, whilst in the other room, Derek’s father Casey (Stephen Lang) warns his son away from the woman he labels as trouble and a golddigger. Despite his best efforts to dissuade his son from the wedding nuptials, Derek is in love with Ava, and the feeling is very much mutual as the pair head off together for a beautiful honeymoon together on a stunning Caribbean island.

The film soon becomes ‘Haywire on a tropical island’, but whilst that observation may not give you hope, IN THE BLOOD is actually more entertaining than Soderbergh’s Haywire. Everything feels a lot tighter in this movie, from the action scenes, where Carano performs some awesome self defence including a flying armbar and superman punch, to the pace that never really lets up. The island location also lends itself to some great locations and characters to set the scene, making the danger that more real, especially in a place where English is rarely spoken.

Gina Carano seems to be settling into the world of film with each film she does. There’s definitely improvement in her performance since Haywire, with a more relaxed attitude to the casual scenes even though they still need a little more work. Carano excels though when she’s put under pressure and goes all Taken on everyone’s ass. Once Ava’s husband is kidnapped, Carano shines as a woman on a mission, who’s not afraid to get her fists dirty on a Caribbean island who’s criminals and law enforcement would rather see her dead. Carano’s skills as a martial artist and ex-MMA fighter are showcased well in the film, despite the fast cuts, with her technical athleticism on display.

Other cast members include Cam Gigandet as Ava’s kidnapped husband Derek. From the offset, Derek comes across as the weak, almost effeminate with his overbearing public displays of affection. It’s no real surprise when he gets kidnapped, though part of me watching it isn’t too bothered whether Ava finds him or not, though her quest to find him is the entertaining part. A regularly face on the indie scene, actor Luis Guzman gives a solid performance as usual as police chief Ramon who’s in charge of Derek’s case. I was plesantly surprised to find Danny Trejo in the film, slapping some girl’s bottom in a nightclub, but don’t expect a terrible amount of screen time starring him. Though he may not be in the film for more than a few minutes, Danny Trejo certainly makes his presence known as a formidable character, Big Biz. Amaury Nolasco, from hit TV series Prison Break, shows how he can easily switch in personality as the unhinged Silvio Lugo.

Though the film has wobbly acting and script in parts, the result is actually a strong effort, delivering in the scenes it needs to: the action and thriller aspect, even if the third act is a bit hit and miss. IN THE BLOOD gathers pace and maintains the pressure as the movie progresses, utilising the talents of Gina Carano, for an enjoyable popcorn action flick.

Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

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About Bat 4394 Articles
I love practical effects, stop-motion animation and gore, but most of all I love a good story! I adore B-movies and exploitation films in many of their guises and also have a soft spot for creature features. I review a wide range of media including movies, TV series, books and videogames. I'm a massive fan of author Hunter S. Thompson and I enjoy various genre of videogames with Kingdom Hearts and Harvest Moon two of my all time favs. Currently playing: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Yakuza Zero and Mafia III.

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