"In the Blood" casts mixed martial artist Gina Carano as Ava, who has overcome a particularly precarious upbringing to turn her life around and marry up the social ladder. While on their Dominican honeymoon, husband Derek (Cam Gigandet) vanishes, apparently in an elaborate abduction plot. When local police offer no help, Ava takes matters into her own hands. The self-defense chops she learned the hard way come in very handy, of course.
Though lacking marquee names, the film measures up to the typical Hollywood action-thriller in just about every other area. Had the Carano-starred "Haywire" become a box-office smash, "In the Blood" surely would have warranted a bigger publicity and advertising commitment from its distributor.
Director John Stockwell, whose credits include "Blue Crush" and "Turistas," proves potent even when working outside the studio system. Like a typical Hollywood action-thriller, though, the screenplay jeopardizes the film. The twists concocted by writers James Robert Johnston and Bennett Yellin are mostly predictable; and the ones you don't see coming are outlandish.
Despite the welcome gender reversal on the "Taken" premise, we've seen this former-junkie-turned-killing-machine narrative before ("La Femme Nikita"). Why couldn't Ava simply be an ordinary woman who happens to have a black belt in tae kwon do?
"In The Blood" - 2 stars
MPAA rating: R (for strong violence and language)
Running time: 1:47
Opens: Friday at AMC South Barrington 30. Also on VOD.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun