Gina Carano stars as Ava, a trained fighter with a dark past. When her new husband (Cam Gigandet) vanishes during their Caribbean honeymoon, Ava uncovers a violent underworld of conspiracy in the middle of an island paradise. Armed with a deadly set of skills, Ava sets out to discover the truth – and to take down the men she thinks are responsible for his abduction, one by one.
Gina Carano is becoming my favorite female badass. I see her name in lights that headline some big action movies in the future. There's famed director Steven Soderbergh hired MMA fighter Gina Carano for his decent action film 'Haywire'. She clearly knows how to take down bad guys and handle acting with some of the best stars around, even though her acting skills won't win her an Oscar at the moment.
But one thing is for sure, Carano is quickly becoming the Queen of action movies. And 'In the Blood' is a great addition to her already impressive, yet short resume. This action vehicle was directed by John Stockwell, who has been in the movie business for a few decades. He first started off as an actor who starred in Stephen King's 'Christine' and the 80's cult favorite 'My Science Project'. Not to mention he played Cougar in 'Top Gun'. His most notable directorial efforts were 'Crazy/Beautiful', 'Into the Blue', 'Turistas', and the recent 'Seal Team 6'.
So already you know this filmmaker has had some fun in his hey day. But now at 50-years old, it looks like Stockwell is still looking to have a good old fashioned romp and make a film that could easily be paired with Liam Neeson's 'Taken', because the two movies, are fairly similar. Deep down, the movie is a straight action film that delivers on the fighting, the blood, the gore, and the twisting story lines. Despite some lagging during the middle of the film, this movie is quite fun to watch, due to Carano being a badass, and the charismatic eye of the director.
Newlyweds Derek (Cam Gigandet) and Ava (Carano) travel to their beautiful dream honeymoon destination in the Caribbean. They are very much in love and look forward to having a good time. They meet a local guy named Manny (Ismael Cruz Cordova), who entices them to a hip night club full of a night of fun. However, trouble finds the couple, which allows Ava to show off her superior fighting skills and fend off the bad guys.
The couple thinks nothing of it and the next day they run into Manny and he talks them into going zip-lining. But again, trouble finds the couple and Derek's zip-line breaks and he falls and is badly injured. The ambulance will not let Ava ride with her new husband to the hospital, so she must follow separately. But when she arrives at the hospital, they tell her nobody with that injury or name has been admitted. And just like my honeymoon, Ava leaves a trail of blood and guts behind her as she tries to find her husband. Not only is she fighting bad guys left and right, but the local police, headed by Ramon Garza (Luis Guzman) is on her tail as well.
Carano is unrelenting here with her foes. Every hit, kick, punch, and bit of torture will make you squint and yell "Oww". And the fight choreography is top notch. Stockwell allows his camera to flow nicely without many cuts to show off Carano's impressive fighting skills. Dramatically, Carano still has some improving to do, but she still holds her own and her chemistry during the beginning of the film with Derek is quite good. You believe they are a real and very likable couple, when disaster strikes.
But where the movie doesn't succeed is how redundant it tends to be. Either Ava is being handcuffed by police, and then escapes, or she just moves from one action scene to the next. But the action scenes themselves make up for the lack of forward moving in the plot area. I don't think 'In the Blood' will change the action genre nor will I think it take an Oscars home, but it is definitely one thrilling and highly satisfying action movie. And sometimes, that's all we need.
'In The Blood' comes with a decent 1080p HD transfer presented in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Since this is hardcore action picture set in the sandy Caribbean, the image looks deeply vibrant and warm throughout. It's a gritty and raw looking film, as we see early on with lower consumer grade cameras being used in action sequences. Detail is very strong and sharp throughout the film. Closeups reveal fine textures in props and costumes. Wrinkles, makeup blemishes, bubbles of blood, and individual hairs stand out nicely here too. Background items look great as well and give the picture a good amount of depth.
Colors again, are very warm and raw. It's as almost if they used an Instagram filter on the entire film, but it looks great for the type of movie it is. The greens and reds are bright and powerful throughout, and are the most standout colors. Black levels are mostly deep and inky, but I did notice some noise in several spots. Skin tones are as natural as they can be, given this color palette, but it works out just fine. Banding and aliasing are nowhere to be found either,earning this video presentation good marks.
This release comes with a lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 audio mix that sounds fairly impressive. For being an action film, this audio track hits all of the right notes. The fight scenes, gun fire, and chase scenes all sound excellent in the surrounds. Every pop, crack, and hit packs a powerful punch and fully immerses the room you're in. Dialogue is always crystal clear and easy to follow as well and perfectly balanced on the center channel. Directionality is great, the LFE is amazing, and the dynamic range is wide here. The bass kicks into high gear in several scenes, which will rattle the walls. Ambient noises sound great here too, especially the dance club sounds in the distance. The score and songs all added to the thrilling nature of the film, while never drowning out any of the dialogue or sound effects. Lastly, there were no pops, cracks, or hissing to speak about.
'In The Blood': Behind The Scenes (HD, 20 mins.) - The only extra is a solid look at how they made the film. Cast and crew discuss the stunts, the fighting, the origins of the story, the casting, and some fun anecdotes on set. There is also some great on-set footage of the movie being made.
'In The Blood' will definitely quench your thirst for action movies. It's fun, fresh, and highly entertaining. Gina Carano is a force to be reckoned with, and she's a delight to watch on screen. Sure, there are some cheesy moments, but the action blows all of that out of the water. The video and audio presentations are quite good, and though there is only one extra, it's a solid extra. If you're a fan of fun action films, you'll want to own this. Recommended.