Director: Jon Stockwell
Screenplay: James Robert Johnston, Bennett Yellin
Starring: Gina Carano, Cam Gigandet, Treat Williams, Luis Guzman
Running Time: 102 mins
BBFC Classification: 15
During a prologue, set twelve years’ earlier, we are shown why Eva, (Gina Carano’s character), is such a bad-ass as she despatches two guys who have just killed her criminal father.
Cut forward to the present day and the rather gorgeous Eva is in the Caribbean with her new husband, Derek. The two of them are very much in love and are staying at a place his grandparents bought many years previously.
While at a restaurant one evening they are approached by a young man, named Mani, who persuades them to let him be their guide and take them to see a more exciting part of the islands, namely a rather dodgy nightclub. It doesn’t take long for Eva to get into a fight when Danny Trejo’s mobster character, Big Biz, takes an interest in her and keeps cutting in for a dance with her. Mani helps them to escape from the place, once she’s beaten most of the men (and some women) up, and turns up at their villa the next morning offering to make it up to them and take them to another ‘attraction’, namely the longest zip-wire in the area, somewhat aptly named: ‘The Widowmaker’.
Derek goes first and ends up getting stuck part way down. Mani goes to rescue him, but Derek falls into the jungle beneath. Eva finds him and they send for a paramedic. An ambulance turns up and Derek is taken away, with Eva trailing them on their hire-bike since apparently she couldn’t go with him due to ‘insurance’ purposes. However, as it turns out, that information was bogus and when she finally gets to the hospital looking for her husband she’s told that he never arrived. After trailing around all the other hospitals looking for Derek she finally goes to the police, but they are little or of no help and seem to want her off their islands as soon as possible. Something decidedly fishy is going on!
In the Blood is basically a vehicle to show off not only Gina Carano’s impressive fighting skills, but also her burgeoning acting ones too. And strangely enough it’s her acting in this that is more memorable than her admittedly very capable fighting. The film is strongest during the first half when it’s sitting more in thriller territory, rather than in full on action mode. The section where Eva is frantically searching for her husband in a city that is unfamiliar to her is probably the most dramatic and memorable part of the film and when I saw the first part of this movie in Cannes last year, it was this that had the auditorium spontaneously erupt into a wave of excited clapping when the promo reel had finished. Unfortunately the finished film doesn’t quite live up to those heady expectations, although it’s still a very competently made action-thriller.
Eva uses her survivalist skills, taught to her by her rather paranoid and brutal father, to full advantage when on the hunt for the love of her life, and not only uses her brawn to full effect, but also her brains as she gradually works out what has happened to her husband and why. When she’s not taking on hit-men and equally nasty gang members she has to deal with corrupt cops and her rich in-laws who seem to give up way too quickly on ever finding their son alive after accusing Eva of doing away with him so she can claim his vast inheritance. I mean, I can understand that they might have their suspicions of this mysterious woman who comes from a dodgy background where her father used to sing her lovely lullabies such as “When all the bastards are gone and dead, only then it’s straight ahead”, but you would have thought that they would have actually stayed on the island longer instead of buggering off in their private sea-plane after offering a reward for his recovery.
In the Blood is beautifully shot and looks terrific throughout, really showcasing the sometimes stunning scenery (of Puerto Rico) and flamboyant local culture. Unfortunately the editing style can be a bit too much ‘CSI Miami’ at times so you don’t always see the best of all the fight moves, which is rather frustrating since this is a film with a MMA star in it. The ending also feels a bit rushed and isn’t as satisfying as one would hope it to be; for me it just wasn’t cathartic enough and felt a little ‘flat’.
However, after saying all that, I’d definitely recommend In the Blood as an excellent showcase for its lead, who I really think has the charisma and ability to become a really big star in future.
Reviewer: Justin Richards
In the Blood has recently been released on DVD and is being distributed by Signature Entertainment. There were no special features on the disc.