While former Strikeforce star Gina Carano continues to tease MMA fans with rumors of a comeback fight for the UFC Women’s Title against the seemingly unbeatable Ronda Rousey, her acting career is only getting stronger with the release of In the Blood. Punching and kicking its way into theaters, On Demand, and iTunes today, In the Blood won’t be the first, second or even 70th movie mentioned in next year’s Oscar race, but in my long, documented history of endorsing mindlessly fun action movies for the sake of pure enjoyment, you might not find a better ass-kicking good time than In the Blood this month. It’s basically a Caribbean version of Taken, except this one stars She-am Neeson. Or Liam Sheeson. Whichever terrible pun you prefer.
Carano stars as Ava, and right from the start we’re told that she comes from a dangerous and mysterious background. We watch masked men shoot her father in cold blood, but only before she reveals that she’s not the type that’s gonna cry watching daddy take a few bullets. Instead, she takes matters and a shotgun into her own hands and finishes the men who finished her dad. That story is quickly told while Ava is preparing to marry Derek Grant, a recovering junkie played by… sigh… Cam Gigandet. While Ava comes from unknown but obviously frightening origins, Derek comes from money, and his father (played by the always wonderful Treat Williams) doesn’t approve of this at all. “She just wants your money!” he sort of implies before Derek tears up the prenup and declares that he loves her no matter what, because she saved him from addiction.
Without further elaboration, Derek and Ava are off to the Caribbean for their honeymoon, where everything that they do involves a GoPro camera and selfies. That’s what you do when you’re in love, you take lots and lots of selfies of smooching and snuggling, because who’s my Shmoopie? YOU’RE MY SHMOOPIE! You also apparently trust the “kindness” of locals who are clearly hitting on your new wife at restaurants, because why just do the same old tourist stuff when you can head to a nightclub with the locals and immediately kick a gigantic f*cking hornet’s nest?
Directed by John Stockwell, who is probably best known as Cougar in Top Gun but has gone on to make a strong name for himself in directing movies that you probably haven’t heard of, In the Blood is a little slow getting into the action, but it’s pretty quick when it comes to painting a picture of a woman who just can’t get anything to work in her favor. By trusting Manny, the local who wants to get into her pants, and without even asking his last name, Ava and Derek head to a nightclub that also happens to be the hangout of choice of a mean hombre named Big Biz, played by FilmDrunk’s favorite 69-year old badass, Danny Trejo.
Big Biz immediately takes a liking to Ava and he wants to party with her the old-fashioned way, by telling her that her husband is a loser and how she should get with a real man. It’s a tactic that fails regularly in both action movies and Miami Beach nightclubs, and when it fails for Big Biz, it turns into a massive brawl, in which only Ava can protect her husband from the locals. After escaping, Derek only asks Ava once about how she was suddenly able to kick the crap out of a bunch of men and women in a club, but I guess very little matters when you’re running for your life. Despite the fact that hanging out with Manny almost got them killed once, Ava and Derek decide to go zip-lining with him the very next morning, even though the one thing Ava is afraid of is heights.
Once Ava shows some hesitation to take a ride down the very aptly-named “Widowmaker,” Derek proceeds without her and, wouldn’t you know it? His zip-line snaps and Manny fails to rescue him, if he was even trying to at all. After a frantic and strangely quick run, Ava helps paramedics load Derek into an ambulance, but they won’t let Ava ride with them. “Something about insurance,” she later explains to his father and a police chief, played by Greendale’s finest, Luis Guzman, after Derek has suddenly vanished. A fight with the police, a jump from a boat, and a long swim back to the island later, Ava decides that it’s time to use everything that her father taught her – conveniently shown to us by Stockwell in well-placed flashbacks to intense training sessions – to find Derek and get revenge on the people she thinks were involved with his disappearance.