In The Blood review (DVD)

Former drug addicts Ava (Carano) and Derek Grant (Gigandet) are enjoying their honeymoon in the Caribbean when Derek is seriously injured in a zip-lining accident. When the ambulance transporting him vanishes and the hospital have no record of his arrival, Ava realises something is desperately wrong. Now under suspicion herself, Ava decides to discover what has happened.

The revenge-thriller plot is a relatively simple one: a terrible thing happens to the protagonist who then uses their skills in wanton violence in a race against the clock to seek out justice, save their loved ones or both. In The Blood offers all of this and still manages to fall short. While Carano brings a much-needed physicality to her character (unsurprising given her martial-arts credentials), her lacklustre acting when not punching people holds her back. Ava is not a particular likeable character and while you may root for her because that's what is expected, it's hard to care. Almost no time is spent on exploring why she is prepared to go to such lengths to rescue her husband and Ava and Derek's relationship is reduced to a few lines of dialogue and a flashback or two.

If the backstory and exposition was kept to a minimum to allow the showcasing of gratuitous but impressive fight scenes, then In The Blood fails once more. Do not let the first fight sequence give you false hope – that's really the best the film has to offer. The other fights sprinkled throughout the film are too short and too boring to be of any merit. This is a huge shame given Carano's physical power and clear ability. While having a woman in the lead role makes for a refreshing change, it's irritating that she is being restrained in a way that would never be allowed for a male character – and they almost certainly wouldn't be molested as often as Ava is.

While revenge-thrillers often portray their main characters as normally nice people pushed to extremes, you can't help but see Ava as a psychopath who really enjoys what she does. She is ruthless and merciless to the point of utter cruelty and her reasoning for the violence she dishes out is flimsy at best.

Carano tries her best but sadly her best isn't good enough and In The Blood fails to land a single decent punch.

EXTRAS Nothing at all

Stuart O'Connor is the Managing Editor of Screenjabber, the movie review website he co-founded with Neil Davey far too many years ago. He likes all genres, as long as the film is good (although he does enjoy the occasional bad "guilty pleasure"), and drinks way too much coffee.

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