Aside from being another rote addition to the revenge-film canon, John Stockwell’s In The Blood is also a supreme waste of Gina Carano’s talent. The former MMA fighter turned action star plays the newlywed Ava, whose wealthy husband, Derek (Cam Gigandet), goes missing after he’s hospitalized during the couple’s Caribbean honeymoon; smelling a cover-up, Ava, who learned the art of combat from her renegade father, resolves to track him down. The setup is incredibly simple, and it has the makings of a perfectly respectable genre exercise, spinning as it does around a comically vast criminal conspiracy that starts with crooked zip-line instructors, works its way through the local police department and hospital network, and ends with the feared crime lord Big Biz (Danny Terjo) and his henchman. All Stockwell has to do is point the camera at Carano as she fights her way through it all, piling up bodies and gaining more information, but his aesthetic actually obscures her remarkable physical presence. The filmmaker exploits her macho womanhood for a sort of comedic irony, constantly calling attention to the fact that audiences are watching a girl beat up a bunch of guys. Where Haywire erases the line between combat and dance through Steven Soderbergh’s framing of Carano in noticeably flat compositions that resemble performance stages and permit her the ideal space to, well, kick ass, In The Blood’s mostly handheld camerawork, undoubtedly a feigned attempt at “documentary realism,” plants us directly in the action, but doesn’t account for negative spaces, denying us the kinetic poetry of Carano’s physicality. Stockwell orchestrates a series of sequences, namely hand-to-hand combat scenes, that could potentially highlight her strengths, but his tight framing and constantly moving camera denies us a proper view of her elegant sense of movement, which, at this point, is the primary, if not the only, reason she’s worth watching in the first place.
- Anchor Bay Films
- 101 min
- John Stockwell
- James Robert Johnston, Bennett Yellin
- Gina Carano, Cam Gigandet, Danny Trejo, Luis Guzmán, Ismael Cruz Cordova
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