Review: IN THE BLOOD (2014) | Casey's Movie Mania | Movie Reviews, Features & Others

Monday, 7 April 2014

Review: IN THE BLOOD (2014)

IN THE BLOOD has a fairly engaging premise, but director John Stockwell fails to make good use of Gina Carano's mixed martial arts talent.

When former mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Gina Carano first made her acting breakthrough in Steven Soderbergh's overrated action thriller HAYWIRE (2012), I thought she has the screen presence to become the next Hollywood's female action star to look forward to. After her satisfying brief turn in last year's FAST & FURIOUS 6, she finally returns with a follow-up leading role in John Stockwell's IN THE BLOOD.


Following her dark past a long time ago, Ava (Gina Carano) is now trying her best to turn her miserable life around by finally marrying the love of her life, Derek Grant (Cam Gigandet). Even though Derek's father Robert (Treat Williams) disagrees with his wedding, Derek remains truthful to Ava and marries her anyway. Soon the newlyweds head to an island near Puerto Rico for honeymoon. Everything is going well until one day a zip-line adventure turns awry when Derek falls and ends up seriously injured. However, things get worse when Ava discovers that the paramedics who supposed to bring Derek to a particular hospital goes missing. Soon Ava begins on a desperate mission to search her husband at all cost.

At the beginning of the movie, director John Stockwell does a good job establishing the setup as we get to know about Gina Carano's main character through a series of black-and-white flashbacks regarding her dark past and subsequent reasons why she is able to toughen up and learns how to fight. Apart from that, I also loved how Stockwell captured all the fun and the excitement that Ava and Derek are experiencing throughout their honeymoon vacation at the island.

As Ava, Gina Carano's acting skill is fairly improved this time around than she did in HAYWIRE. And likewise, she proves to be an engaging presence when comes to action sequences. The supporting actors -- Cam Gigandet, Treat Williams, Amaury Nolasco (who plays the bad guy Silvio Lugo), Luis Guzman (as police chief Ramon Garza) and Ismael Cruz Cordova (as Manny, the young man who first befriends the newlyweds and betrays them but ends up helping Ava to locate her husband) -- are serviceable.
For an action movie that features a MMA star like Gina Carano, I would have expected at least one noteworthy fight sequence. Too bad that doesn't exist here in this movie.
It's a shame that Stockwell doesn't really know how to stage an effective fight sequence. Problem is, he likes to use lots of close-ups and rapid edits throughout the fight sequence which makes it hard for the viewers to appreciate Gina Carano's MMA moves (frankly, Carano doesn't get much chance to showcase plenty of her moves here). Worst still, the payoff where Ava finally comes face-to-face against the main culprit who staged the kidnapping against Derek is disappointingly anticlimactic. And speaking of payoff, the twist (particularly the one involving the reason why Derek is being kidnapped at the first place) is hardly engaging at all.

Overall, IN THE BLOOD is a huge disappointment that fails to capitalize Gina Carano's mixed martial arts skill.


No comments: