MRR Review: "In the Blood"
on 2014-04-18 15:30
Length: 108 minutes
Release Date: April 4, 2014
Directed by: John Stockwell
Genre: Action / Crime / Thriller
"In the Blood" is an action thriller that follows Derek and Ava, a newly married couple on their honeymoon. When Derek goes missing only a day after the couple arrive in the Caribbean, Ava sets off to find him and track down the person responsible for his abduction. However, Derek's abductors are prepared to kill Ava to get what they want. As she uncovers their secrets, Ava chooses to put her life on the line to save her husband.
In the opening scenes of "In the Blood," the audience is introduced to Derek and Ava, former drug addicts who met in rehab. After getting married, the pair fly to the Caribbean for their honeymoon. After they arrive, Derek and Ava stop by a nightclub. Soon after, Derek gets into an altercation with a man. After the fight is broken up, Derek and Ava return to their hotel room and forget about the fight.
The next day, Derek and Ava set out on a hike and go zip lining. Along the way, the couple runs into trouble when Derek falls from the line. Ava calls for help and the paramedics arrive in time to save his life. However, when Ava arrives at the hospital, she finds no trace of Derek. No one has seen him and she quickly learns the paramedics who transported Derek are not who they seem.
Afraid and alone, Ava contacts a local detective, but he does not believe her story. After conducting her own research, Ava learns that the man who got into a fight with Derek is a local crime boss named Silvio Lugo. With no one to help her, Ava sets off to take Lugo down and find her husband.
Gina Carano plays the tough-as-nails Ava. Throughout the film, she delivers a solid performance all the while executing impressive stunts during the many fight sequences. Cam Gigandet has limited screen time as his character is missing for most of the film, but he plays the husband character well. The cast of main characters is rounded out by Danny Trejo, who plays Silvio Lugo. Trejo makes his character menacing but ultimately susceptible to Ava's investigative work. Trejo is also a trained MMA fighter, so he intensifies the fight scenes.
A film about Americans being abducted far from home is not an original story. In fact, director John Stockwell also directed "Turistas," a movie about a group of tourists who become victims while on vacation. However, Stockwell adds a unique plot twist to "In the Blood" that makes the film very original. Instead of the female lead being abducted and the male lead saving her, the roles are reversed. The strong, capable Ava takes on numerous bad guys to save her husband and ultimately topples Lugo's entire drug operation. In addition, Ava finds absolutely no help from the local cops, which provides the main focus of the plot, since Ava has to conduct her own research and surveillance.
The plot of "In the Blood" is single-focused since there are no subplots, but there is a sporadic voice-over that clues the audience into Ava's past. This element of the plot is extremely beneficial since the voice-over, which is the voice of Ava's father, explains how she learned the impressive fight moves she displays throughout the film. This adds a level of credibility to the entire story. Overall, the film is very suspenseful, and there are a few unexpected plot twists. However, the film does drag slightly in the opening scenes.
Director John Stockwell used a unique style of filming for "In the Blood." The film includes an interesting mix of jump cuts during fight scenes to make the action more intense and sweeping shots of the lush tropical backdrop. The scene in the club when the altercation between Derek and Lugo occurs is punctuated by a strobe light effect that blurs some of the characters' actions. This strategy is very effective, since Ava realizes some of the clues she is looking for trace back to the night at the club. In this sense, the filming style foreshadows later events. Although the filming technique is effective, some of the shots reflect how the film was made on a limited budget. However, it is easy to overlook this flaw with the great filming techniques and original plot.
"In the Blood" features a unique plot twist and solid acting. The movie is full of suspense, with enough action to keep an audience entertained from start to finish. For fans of mysteries, "In the Blood" is a thrilling ride.