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Movie review: ‘In the Blood’

In the Blood

* * * 

Director: John Stockwell

Cast: Gina Carano, Cam Gigandet

Rated: R (strong violence, strong language)

Running time: 108 min.

Posted 12:49am on Friday, Apr. 04, 2014

You know your Caribbean honeymoon is in trouble when, while on the dance floor with your husband at a back-alley nightspot, Danny Trejo from the “Machete” movies is trying to horn in on your alone time.

That’s just the beginning of the problems facing Ava (Dallas’ Gina Carano, Haywire), a woman looking to start her life over with her new hubby, Derek (Cam Gigandet, Twilight), after a hard-knock upbringing with her tough-love dad (Stephen Lang), who taught her a thing or two about self-defense.

And she’s going to need every bit of that knowledge over the course of In the Blood, a surprisingly entertaining and suspenseful action-thriller that, unfortunately, panders to every non-Spanish-speaking American tourist’s fear of traveling to Latin America.

The day after the encounter in the club, in which Ava laid low all of the henchmen of Big Biz (Trejo), Derek mysteriously disappears after falling while zip lining across a particularly rugged part of the island. He was supposedly transferred to the local hospital but never arrived. An enraged Ava takes it upon herself to shake down and shake up every corrupt cop and local crime king until she gets some answers — preferably in English — about what’s happened to Derek.

Directed by John Stockwell ( Seal Team Six: The Raid on Osama bin Laden) from a script by James Robert Johnston and Bennett Yellin, In the Blood moves with the speed of one of those Miami Vice cigarette boats so there’s not a lot of down time to worry about plot holes and implausibility. But there’s just enough local flavor — it was shot in Puerto Rico — to give the film a jolt of authenticity.

Carano, a former mixed-martial artist, won’t be vying for an Oscar any time soon but she can more than hold her own as an action star. She deserves a bigger canvas on which to show off her skills.

Exclusive: AMC Mesquite 30; video-on-demand and iTunes

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