In The Blood (2014)
Editor’s Notes: In The Blood opens in limited release tomorrow, April 4th.
The 80’s was a time of many great films and an era in which the action movie was king. Stallone and Schwarzenegger reigned and smaller stars like Michael Dudikoff and Cynthia Rothrock carved out their own genre niches. John Stockwell is clearly a huge fan of that period as his new film In The Blood is without doubt an homage, albeit a relatively poor one.
Apart from the odd twist on an old story this is as about a run of the mill revenge thriller as you are likely to see.
Ava (Gina Carano) is a woman with a violent past. This we know as her life with a brutal yet strangely nurturing father is shown through intermittent flashbacks. Now though she has put all of that darkness behind her and is marrying Derek (Cam Gigandet) despite his wealthy family being openly suspicious of her intentions. Ignoring that interference they set off on honeymoon to an apparently idyllic Caribbean island where Derek’s family have a beach house. Soon after arriving though they are involved in a scuffle in a nightclub and the next day Derek disappears after an apparent accident on a zip line. Ava must then search for her new husband alone as only she believes he’s still alive.
Danny Trejo who is always watchable is nothing more than a cameo, bookending the story while bluntly delivering a curious message about tourism.
Apart from the odd twist on an old story this is as about a run of the mill revenge thriller as you are likely to see. There is little originality anywhere in In The Blood, and what there is which centres on the reason for Derek’s disappearance is so preposterous as to be completely unbelievable. Part of the problem is that in the 80’s there was a tongue in cheek element to much of what constituted this type of film. The good guys would dispatch the bad guys in various bloody ways, follow up with a witty quip and move on to the next fight. Now, because things have moved on and what you can show on screen has changed, the violence on display here is extreme and uncompromising. Ava has at times no apparent option but to fight her way of situations but for her to actively seek out confrontation as she does and to carry out some Taken-esque interrogation techniques and vengeance becomes somewhat unpalatable. Ava therefore becomes not a particularly sympathetic character and as the centre of the film this is an issue.
Another problem exists in the casting. Luis Guzman has been many things in his extensive career but dull has never been one of them. In In The Blood he is reduced to being a bland, shallow character and seems to show little interest in the role. Danny Trejo who is always watchable is nothing more than a cameo, bookending the story while bluntly delivering a curious message about tourism. The blame for this must rest with Stockwell who has done interesting things in the past but here seems to be sleepwalking from one set piece to the next without any real thought on how to make each one different from the last.
In The Blood is at best dull, at worst mildly offensive. There is little here to satisfy even the most ardent and vocal fans of either Carano or the genre itself. For someone who clearly has some talent more careful film selection is essential as she could very easily end up making straight to DVD films very much akin to this misstep.
[notification type=”star”]30/100 ~ AWFUL. In The Blood is at best dull, at worst mildly offensive. There is little here to satisfy even the most ardent and vocal fans of either Carano or the genre itself. [/notification]